What if I told you that there was a pill to make you happier, healthier, more confident and more attractive. It’d be a miracle, “Give it to me now!”. Well there is something you can do that will give you all of these benefits and there is no pill required. I’m talking about fixing your posture. Growing up our parents told us to stand up straight and to look respectable and modern psychology is now telling us that there are a whole host of benefits to standing up straight with your shoulders back.
It has been studied throughout the natural world that good posture is indicative of health and well being. You can see it from the way that dolphins and orca’s fins slump in captivity to the way that plants droop when they are malnourished. Human’s likewise used posture as an initial way to size each other up and see how we are perceived in a dominance hierarchy. Those with stooped posture are considered weaker and those who stand up straighter are generally considered more confident and more capable. For those of you with bad posture, as most of us tend to have, the good news is that anyone can change their posture and transform their life.
Having good posture is so important for your health and well being. There is an old Chinese proverb that states ‘you are only as old as your spine’ and in many ways, this is true as your spine dictates your mobility. Your posture is the basis for all other movements throughout your body. This means that if your body isn’t aligned properly it won’t be able to move properly. This is ok in the short term but over a lifetime it can lead to cripling muscle tension and pain that is linked with headaches as well as inflammation. More than this, your posture will also determine how you adapt to the challenges of the day. As your brain and body are linked so too are the functions that control your mood. When you stand up straight you feel more confident and capable of tackling difficult situations. This willingness to assert yourself will make you happier and more organised in your day to day life.
So how does good posture look? It’s easy to spot in others but if we look at it specifically good posture is when all 33 vertebrae (the bones that make up your spine) are stacked on top of each other. From the side the spine curves at the neck, shoulders and the small of your back. When you are standing up you should be able to draw a straight line from a point right in front of your shoulders to your hip, down through your knee and ending just a little in front of your ankle. This keeps you balanced over your hips. If you are seated your shoulders should be relaxed with your arms close to your trunk, your feet should be on the floor and your knees should be at a right angle keeping in mind to keep your neck straight. It’s best to align your desk space, if at work for long periods, to support a healthy posture. Make sure the screens are at the height of your head so you don’t have to arch your neck.
If you are looking to improve your posture there are a few things you can do. I’d recommend starting each day with a good stretch. Stretching every morning is a great way to get blood flow through the body and open up your joints for great flexibility throughout the day. As well as this practising yoga will go a long way to improving your body’s posture. If you can make a habit of it yoga’s whole focus is on aligning the body and always leaves you feeling more nimble after the practice.
Having a well-aligned body will help you to feel more confident. You’ll be able to tackle the problems in your life head-on with a stature that says I’m in control and I can handle this. It’s for this reason that having a good posture is so important. It will improve every facet of your life including making it easier for you to go out, meet new people and try new exciting adventures.