We’ve all been there: after spending hours working on the computer, lugging heavy backpacks around school, or even just slouching while we walk, it’s easy for posture and, as a result, confidence to suffer.
We can do all different kinds of things to improve our posture. From stretching daily, to wearing suitable footwear, to reducing screen time, all sorts of things can lengthen our spine and lead to less back and neck pain.
Not only can good posture have a positive effect on our physical health, but it can also have a significant impact on our mental health and confidence.
When combined with therapy, whether in-person or via online platforms like MyTherapist, improved posture can boost self-esteem and help you maintain a brighter outlook on life.
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How does posture affect our mental health?
Just like the “power stance” mentioned in numerous self-help books and public speaking guides, sitting or standing with good posture increases our self-confidence and boosts our mood.
Even if you feel down or have lower self-esteem, standing tall can trick your brain into thinking you are worthy of the attention you deserve. It’s very much like forming other helpful and necessary habits – after a while, you won’t even have to trick yourself or make a conscious anymore.
Sitting or standing tall tells you and everyone else in the room that you belong and feel confident in your own skin.
This can be invaluable when it comes to improving your mood and allowing you to feel respected and comfortable.
Confidence Affects Parts of Who We Are
When we experience a lack of self-confidence, it’s easy for those feelings to spiral rapidly and contribute to other mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression.
If we feel like we don’t deserve respect or attention, we may develop negative thought loops that exaggerate these feelings and make us feel worse.
This repetitive negative thinking could also lead to deeper feelings of sadness or distress (when we continue to tell ourselves that we, incorrectly, don’t deserve to take up space, we begin to behave accordingly).
However, once individuals begin to take up more space by standing taller physically, they can start to combat these negative thoughts little by little and change the way they think.
Maintaining Good Posture Has Major Benefits
Not only does standing tall and proud begin to change the ways we think through the illusion of confidence, but it can also contribute to concrete physical benefits that impact our mental health, including:
- Increased blood flow to the brain. Standing taller allows blood to flow smoothly throughout your body and reach all the essential organs. When your brain does not get sufficient blood flow, you may feel sluggish, foggy, or unhappy.
- More energy. Activating the muscles it takes to use good posture wakes up your core and muscles throughout your extremities. Your muscles have to engage to keep you appropriately balanced, and even this small activation will likely give you a boost of energy.
- A better oxygenated body. Slouching can put serious tension on your chest and lungs, which can lead to shorter, less full breaths. When we cannot breathe deeply, we limit the oxygen that flows throughout our blood and body. Oxygen is vital in almost every bodily process and keeps the cells alive.
- Less back, neck, and foot pain. Have you ever noticed that an ache or pain can really make your day take a turn for the worse? The negative emotions that ensue when you experience pain, especially chronic pain, can build up and take a toll on our mental health. Sitting or standing tall with good posture can help alleviate this pain and thus the negative emotions that come with it.
Final Thoughts: Posture Does Link to Mental Health
In general, the way we carry ourselves impacts the way we think about ourselves.
If we slouch and try to hide from the world, as insignificant as it may seem, we likely won’t think very highly of ourselves.
However, if you choose to stand up straight and tall and take up the space you deserve, you will begin to feel like you truly deserve to feel great.
Not only this, but our physical bodies link so intrinsically to our brain health that simply carrying yourself in a healthy way can create a significant, positive impact on your physical health as well.
Though posture might not seem like a major part of who you are or how your body functions, it can indeed have a genuine impact on the way you and others view yourself.
So, next time you catch yourself slouching over a desk feeling overwhelmed, remember that simply sitting up tall can help give you a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes, the little things can make a huge difference.