Slouching in front of your computer or desk, or while we are watching TV or reading can get the worst of us. It’s a bad habit. But luckily, like all bad habits, it can be improved with a little self-discipline. It’s been proven–and you don’t mess with science.
Try it, right now as you read this article. Sit up straight. Am I sounding like your mother or ballet teacher? Pretend there is a string through the top of your head extending to the ceiling. Don’t over extend yourself—that’s almost as bad as a slouching spine. Allow the natural curves of your spine to take form in the top and bottom respectively. Feel better? Brighter? More alert? Science says you will.
Posture awareness is directly connected with our moods. When we sit or stand up straight a range of benefits come pouring in. Think it’s minor? It’s really not. Here are some of the immediate wonderful, and scientifically proven, benefits of a straight, healthy, good posture.
1. Increases breathing capacity
Intentional awareness of our posture and sitting up straight will allow more oxygen to your brain (about 20% more), and thus increase your creativity. A simple switch for a flow of great benefits.
2. Opens your heart
There is a reason why yoga and mediation starts with a straight spine. By being aware of our posture, we open our hearts and can more easily receive benefits like gratitude, awareness and increased compassion. We can all use more of that throughout our day, right?
3. Eliminates back pains
Most back pain problems are the result of unequal distribution of your weight—more pinch and strain in one area than the other. Sitting up straight and maintaing that balanced position throughout the day will correct and prevent most back pain issues.
4. Heightens awareness
Heightening awareness of your posture will heighten your awareness overall. Good posture leads to greater sensory focus and extends to the world around us. Maybe you’ll find you don’t need that second cup of coffee after all.
5. Increases blood circulation
Do you have poor circulation? Being aware of your posture is the best and most immediate thing you can do to increase blood circulation throughout your entire body. Not slouching opens up your body and allows your blood vessels the space they need to circulate your vital liquids properly.
6. Improves outlook
When we stand or sit up straight the world seems brighter. Really. A shocking study connected the importance of strong, intentional body language to increased self-esteem. Amy Cuddy explains good posture—and so much more—very compellingly in this TED talk.
image: Joe Logon
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