“It stands to reason that our brains are influenced by our posture, when you consider that our posture is controlled by our brains.”
How connected is your stance to your frame of mind? The short answer is extremely connected, the one influencing and guiding the other. Your posture affects your mood, your thoughts, your thinking and your decision making abilities. Science has proven this through studies conducted all over the globe. One such study was done by the San Francisco State University in the USA. The study lead Erik Peper, a professor of psychology at the University, to report that “emotions and thoughts affect our posture and energy levels; conversely, posture and energy affect our emotions and thoughts.” Fast company reported that “Peper and his team of researchers suggest that posture is a significant contributor to decreased energy levels and depression. Slouching is also known to result in frequent headaches and neck and shoulder pains.”
Some of the effects of poor posture include back spasms (which put pressure on the brain to conserve energy, and thus affectmood), poor oxygen (the rounding of shoulders reduce blood flow to the brain) and much more. What is interesting is the links being found between our frame of mind, confidence levels, information processing prowess and our posture.
It stands to reason that our brains are influenced by our posture, when you consider that our posture is controlled by our brains.
According to Richard Petty, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, “it can be difficult to distinguish real confidence from confidence that comes from just standing up straight. These things go both ways; just like happiness leads to smiling, [and] smiling leads to happiness.” Moreover, Fast company reports that “when we sit up straight, we are more likely to remember positive memories.”
Dr. Elga Drews from the Namibian Chiropractic Association says that “Joint diseases account for half of all chronic conditions in persons aged 65 and over and back pain is the second leading cause of sick leave.” Dr. Drews goes on to say that “Spinal disorders, such as back pain, neck pain, scoliosis and disc disease, to name a few, are common, and they can have a profound effect on a person’s overall health, impacting a person’s ability to work, to enjoy everyday activity and even disrupting healthy sleep patterns”
When you consider the modern day lifestyle that includes sitting for the most part of the day, you see that we are ourselves contributing to the problem. However, there are solutions to aid us. Fast Company reported these tips for creating better posture: hang photos of people you love slightly higher on the wall or above your desk, so that you have to look up. You can also adjust your rear view mirror slightly higher so that you have to sit up taller while driving. Another common solution for poor posture is exercise (See the bottom of this article for a link to Straighten Up Namibia exercises)
Dr. Elga Drews notes that poor posture is a major contributor to back, neck and shoulder pain. She advises the following tips for avoiding back pain
Dr. Drews “Rules to live by to avoid back pain :
- “Pain is a warning sign, don’t ignore it. Don’t persist in taking pain-relieving medication.
- Avoid soft chairs and deep couches. Try to choose a chair with a backrest.
- Do not sit for prolonged periods, as this increases the pressure in the intervertebral discs.
- Sleep on a good quality, supportive mattress. Sleep on your side or back, never on your tummy.
- When getting up from bed, roll onto your side first, swing your legs off the bed and then push up with your arms.
- Try not to stay in bed for prolonged periods, as continuous bed rest can lead to slower recovery.
- Move frequently to maintain mobility.
- Don’t cough or sneeze in a bent position.
- Bend with knees and hips not with the back when picking something up, never bend and twist at the same time as this increases the pressure in the discs. Turn to face the object you wish to lift.
- Hold heavy objects close to the body.
- Avoid sudden movements – learn to move deliberately.”
It may come as a surprise to know that your posture, your stance and the pose you strike has a direct impact on your mood, your thoughts and your confidence levels. It’s also a reminder of how our bodies and minds are linked to one whole system. There are many things you can do to improve your posture, starting simply by becoming aware and then by taking whatever action is appropriate for you.
Here is the link to Straighten Up Namibia exercises : adultlinebrochure
Article by Kirsty Watermeyer