Growing up, you may have heard the phrases “sit straight!” and “don’t slouch!” a million times over; a stern reminder that good posture is something worth paying attention to. Of course, amongst the hustle and bustle of our everyday adult lives, it’s not uncommon for these healthy habits to fall by the wayside. But just how important is good posture in maintaining our physical and mental health? We hate to say it, but your mum was right; it plays a far bigger role than most of us could ever imagine.
It’s no secret that high pressure jobs, stressful family responsibilities and busy schedules can really take their toll on our wellbeing – but did you know that this is often reflected in the way we carry ourselves? While most of us treat bad posture with a trip to the massage therapist, it’s important to realise just how much of a issue it can have on your body and mind overall. In a society where mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression as well as physical ailments such a lower back pain, and headaches are common, researchers have actually found that these experiences are often reflected in your posture.
A slouched demeanor is often considered a distinguishing characteristic of depression and other related mental health issues. In fact, various research studies indicate that maintaining correct posture can work wonders in its ability to instil self-confidence, enthusiasm and happiness in a person. Auckland University conducted research into posture and its effects on moods and emotions, investigating whether an altered posture could help to subdue the negative side effects of people with mild depression whilst they were performing a demanding task. The research was conducted with the active participation of sixty-one community members who tested positive for mild to moderate depression. Physiotherapy tape was applied on each of the participants and their cognitive function was monitored. In the end, the researchers emerged with positive results.
Elizabeth Broadbent, one of the members of the study, has said that instead of keeping a hunched position, maintaining a straight posture will help you to feel more jovial and engaged post-success, enhance your perseverance when attempting a difficult task and increase your level of self-esteem. This research has also indicated that maintaining an upright demeanor or a favorable position where your body endures the least strain makes you feel more alive, alert, promotes relaxation and gives you motivation to continue your day-to-day activities.
So what can we learn from this research? While your mental health issues can’t be cured with a healthy dose of good posture, it may be able to alleviate some of your day to day symptoms. Forging and maintaining such a habit is a great way to ensure that you can reap all the benefits of amazing posture!