We’ve all been told throughout our lives to “sit up straight” and not slouch. Is this just for the benefit of others, or do we also benefit from strong posture?
A recent study found that good posture is not only for the benefit of those around us and how they perceive us, but actually for our own confidence levels and mental well-being as well. Researchers at Ohio State asked 71 participants to take part in various professional tasks while practicing different postures. They found that “how the students rated themselves as future professionals depended on which posture they held” during the study. Participants who sat up straight rated themselves in a strikingly more positive way than those who were told to slouch forward. You can read more about this study here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005111627.htm
Your posture does, of course, communicate how you’re feeling to the people around you. The word posture not only means how you hold your body, but also your overall physical form. Your posture can also convey many different traits to the people you interact with on a daily basis. Here are some examples of what your posture can say about you:
- Open posture: keeping the trunk of the body open and exposed. This posture can indicate that you are friendly, open, and willing.
- Closed posture: keeping the trunk of the body hidden or obscured, often by hunching forward (aka kyphosis) and keeping the arms and legs crossed. This posture can indicate that you are hostile, unfriendly, anxious, and shy.
If you want to improve your posture, focus on the positioning of your feet rather than your upper body, in order to keep the trunk of your body open. Practice powerful positions and deep breathing to improve your sense of power, as well. You can find several examples of powerful positions here: http://blog.bufferapp.com/improve-my-body-language-secrets
Changing our posture goes much farther than just repositioning our bodies and changing the way we appear to others from the outside. There is actual change going on within our bodies as our body language changes. These changes are mostly due to changes in two hormone levels:
- Testosterone: The “power” hormone, which helps us be better leaders and to have more focus and attention.
- Cortisol: The “stress” hormone, which makes us less re-active to stress, and can make us feel overwhelmed and powerless.
Start improving your posture today to feel and become more confident and powerful both on the inside and out!