“Stand up straight My Dear.” How many times have I said those words? If only I had a dollar… However, reflecting back I wish I had said, “Stand up straight my dear if you want to feel good and be taken seriously.” That would have been more apropos.
Yet again, good advice from mother’s lips all over the world is being scientifically tested and validated by science. So, if this advice coming from your work mom isn’t good enough, let’s delve into a little research, shall we?
Let us begin with how slouching effects our health. Sitting and slouching decreases blood flow and slows the movement of food in your GI tract. Gas is rarely a good first impression.
Wonder why so many men are having hormone problems today? Could part of it be posture? According to a recent study by Harvard there is a possible correlation between poor posture and decreased testosterone levels. If someone we know has this particular issue, it may be in part to posture, so stand up straight my dear and we may change our hormones! (Continue to see a medical advisor in this situation as well.)
Cortisol, the stress hormone increases when posture is poor. Need a little less stress? Strike a power pose! By throwing our hands over our heads in a victory stance and hanging out there for a second or two we will feel a lot better. Breathing deeply while slowly raising our hands over our head and lowering them to our heart on an exhale 5 to 10 times will work wonders for posture and stress!
Good posture will also allow us to breathe more deeply, thus increasing the oxygenation of our brains and bodies. Not only will we have more energy, we will be smarter and who doesn’t need that.
The Health Psychology Newsletter in June of 2015 included an article entitled, “Do slumped and upright postures affect stress responses? A randomized trial.” In this study 74 participants were strapped with tape to hold their posture throughout the study. The folks with good posture reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood and lower fear. The conclusions from the study were not surprising. When standing and sitting up straight, life’s challenges lose their power to lower our self-esteem or make us feel depressed and sorry for ourselves. The participants with the poor posture voiced more negative words and emotions, talked about themselves more and used fewer positive expressions.
Slouching over phones, shoveling in food, standing around like James Dean. It is epidemic in today’s world and it makes an unhealthy and sad population of people. Hanging our heads down as we constantly look at our cell phones is creating a physiology of sadness. Some conscious looking at the sky as much as possible is very needed in today’s world, so put down the phone for a while and look at the world around us with an uplifted head. We will be happier.
Anthony Robbins said in one of his trainings that if we want to be successful we should copy our hero’s physiology. Copy the way they walk, stand, eat, etc. and soon we will find ourselves acting and feeling like them. Science has proved this to be true. When we slouch, our recall goes down, we focus on the negative, we are less productive, have lower self-esteem and a lot more fear. Who wants to live like that? By simply improving our posture we have the power to improve our world, so believe your work mom and “Stand up straight my dear.”
Janelle Gibson PT, DPT Coal Creek Physical Therapy newsletter.
Health Psychol. 2015 Jun;34(6):632-41. doi: 10.1037/hea0000146. Epub 2014 Sep 15. Do slumped and upright postures affect stress responses? A randomized trial.