Do you ever feel your back hurting after a particularly long Zoom session? Now that we’re working from home, we’re also spending a lot more time sitting for hours on end, making it easy to hunch over as we become fatigued. We have all strived to have good posture because of its various physical health benefits, such as reduced muscle pains and backaches, but what about the mental health benefits? In these times of uncertainty, we’ll explore ways in which good posture can help you handle stress and keep you feeling positive while you work from home!
Have you ever found yourself second-guessing your answers on an online exam? Or maybe you’ve felt intimidated when talking about yourself during a digital interview or event. Everyone hesitates, especially during high-pressure situations, however, have you ever thought about how you’re sitting during these activities?
It turns out that way you sit can be linked to how certain you feel about your opinions. A study found that body posture affected confidence in people’s thoughts. Participants were asked to list either positive or negative attributes about themselves, and those who sat in an upright posture were more likely to believe in said attributes when describing their future work performance. These results demonstrate that body posture can affect how sure we are in evaluating ourselves and our thoughts. Maintaining an upright body posture could make you more certain in your thinking, proving to be useful in situations where you need that extra boost of confidence! Whether you’re taking an exam or trying to ace that interview, consider the way you sit and you might be able to dispel that apprehension that holds you back!
It’s extremely easy to feel overwhelmed by work on top of the millions of things you might be worrying about. More often than not, there are times where you might feel like giving up. Sometimes it feels like you’ve lost focus, and that your work is being repetitive and boring. Other times, you might get frustrated by something that your boss had said to you. When you feel discouraged, it’s easy to hunch or shift in your seat. While this may be a display of exhaustion, fixing your posture may actually help you hang in there a little longer!
Some research shows that body posture also affects persistence when dealing with difficult tasks. In one study, participants who sat in an upright body posture demonstrated significantly higher perseverance when tasked to figure out an unsolvable puzzle. Meanwhile, those who sat in a slumped position were recorded to have spent less trials trying to solve the puzzles. Managing your posture could potentially boost your endurance when things get tough. The next time you feel like calling it quits, try sitting upright and give it one more shot! Maybe you’ll even end up finishing one of your most challenging tasks!
Increased energy levels and elevated mood
While we usually consider posture while sitting, research shows that walking posture can also affect your physical and emotional well-being. In one study, subjects had to deal with a psychological stressor while walking in either an upright or slouched posture. Those who maintained an upright posture reported feeling more powerful, less sleepy, and less negative emotions compared to those who walked in a slouched posture. By helping us reduce feelings like dread or nervousness, keeping an upright posture could aid us in handling stress and mental fatigue more effectively.
Likewise, another study found that for individuals who indicated a history of depression, a slouched walking posture was associated with feelings of fatigue and lethargy in addition to decreased energy levels. For those who reported depressive symptoms, changing walking posture could lead to increased energy levels. Even while walking, being conscious of our posture could possibly help us fight exhaustion and feel better in difficult situations. Whether you’re going out to get some exercise or even just moving through your own home, try straightening out your back! Perhaps you’ll feel more positive and energetic throughout a tough day!
Increased positive emotions
Being a student is difficult, especially in these times of increased uneasiness. You or someone you know may have struggled with maintaining their mental health. It was found that sitting in an upright posture led to reduced fatigue and increased positive feelings in people with mild to moderate depression. Participants were evaluated after undergoing an activity which induced stress in a simulated social situation. The subsequent results revealed that people in an upright position were less focused on themselves and would speak more than those in a slumped position. Rather than dwelling on unpleasant inner thoughts, people may be inclined to be more externally aware and present in their lives. We’ve seen that having a good posture has its benefits during stressful situations, and this could apply to those who are experiencing depression or depressive symptoms as well. By fixing our posture, we may be able to divert our negative feelings away from ourselves.
The bottom line
Posture has the potential to significantly impact mental health and related physiological conditions, including sleepiness and fatigue. Although the physical health benefits of good posture are widely accepted and recognized, we should also consider how good posture can positively change the way we feel. As we experience increased amounts of stress and distress on a daily basis, maintaining an upright posture while sitting and walking could help us feel more energized and positive as we tackle our responsibilities at home!