When you’re feeling low your physical appearance is likely to reflect this; your shoulders slouch, your head drops, and everything, including your gaze, seems to slant towards the floor.  Conversely, if you make a concerted effort to pull yourself upright and face the world head-on, your sense of wellbeing can improve as a result.  It may seem unlikely that something as simple as posture could have such an impact on your mood, but according to research, it is true.

A study by the University of Auckland in 2017 [1] instructed participants with mild to moderate depression to look straight ahead, straighten their backs, level their shoulders, stretch the top of their heads toward the ceiling and gently draw their should blades down and together while completing tasks.  Results found that sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, less fearful, and make you feel more confident in your thoughts.

Similarly, a study conducted by Harvard University [2] found that people with a posture of open shoulders and a straight spine had a 20% increase in testosterone and 25% decrease in cortisol, while those who slouched saw a 10% decrease in testosterone and 15% increase in cortisol, which results in low self-confidence and high-stress levels! The link between mind and body is strong and symbiotic; the state of one will influence the state of the other.

Indeed, we communicate with our bodies as much as with our voices and it’s important to acknowledge posture as part of our body language; what will a slouchy disposition communicate about you to the rest of the world?  Your physical demeanour will affect how those around you perceive and interact with you, which in turn can affect your state of mind.  Maintaining a strong posture will convey a positive and confident attitude, which will be reflected back in kind.

Your state of mind is affected by your physical wellbeing.  Feeling unwell or suffering chronic pain inevitably has a negative effect and poor posture can trigger or contribute to numerous physical conditions: back and shoulder pain, headaches, lung function, digestion, muscle strength, the list goes on! Improving your posture can help you to avoid or ease the symptoms associated with these conditions and thereby achieve a more serene and positive state of mind.

Of course, altering your posture isn’t a substitute for medical support when it comes to physical or psychological conditions, however taking the time to consciously improve poor or slouchy posture can quickly and effectively cheer you up, boost your mood and enhance your physical and mental wellbeing.

For advice on staying healthy at work and the best options for seating, talk to us at Support Design.

[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/minding-the-body/201701/good-posture-may-ease-symptoms-depression

[2] https://www.prevention.com/life/g20471859/how-bad-posture-affects-your-health-and-happiness/