What do you feel when you’re stressed? For many people, the physical reaction can include a sense of painful, stiff weight on the neck and shoulders; as if some force is pulling you down, urging you to curl up into a little ball and avoid the stress triggers. That’s stress in a nutshell, and one of the consequences, as you might imagine, is poor posture. According to a recent study, stress might not only cause poor posture; the opposite might also be the case.
The study compared upright, seated posture to slumped seated posture to evaluate how different postures affected emotions / mood, particularly in the face of stress. Results showed that “upright participants reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, and lower fear, compared to slumped participants.”
The researchers’ concluding remarks were even more revealing: “Adopting an upright seated posture in the face of stress can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture. Furthermore, sitting upright increases rate of speech and reduces self-focus. Sitting upright may be a simple behavioral strategy to help build resilience to stress.”
The take-home message: Sit up straight and reduce your stress! By the way, proper posture is also a great way to prevent spine-related aches and pains. Talk to your chiropractor for more information.