Sit up straight – it’s a phrase we all hear throughout our lives. However, sitting up straight and having the right posture is more than just for looks. There is a connection between posture and health, specifically a person’s mental health. Over time, a person’s slouching can end up causing major issues down the line, both physically and mentally.
While sitting up may seem like a small change, it can have a great impact on a person’s physical and mental health. There have been studies and research that show a connection between posture and health in general. As you read this, consider how you may be sitting – are you slouched on your desk instead of sitting up with proper posture?
There has always been a connection between a person’s posture and health. Those who exercise and utilize healthy practices are typically happier and more suited than those who don’t. This can be applied by simply sitting up straight and having good posture. Let’s take a look at this useful and important connection.
Posture and Mental Health
The science behind this connection may be surprising but sitting up straight can make all the difference. There is a link between posture and anxiety (and other mental conditions) as well. If you’ve ever tried yoga, you may have heard of ‘power poses’ – upright positions that help boost energy and confidence. Even if you’ve never done yoga, you’ve probably been told once or twice to ‘sit up straight or not to slouch.
Turning to science, one San Francisco State University study examined how students recalled and thought about past experiences (good and bad). The group was told to recall both negative and positive experiences twice – once while sitting up straight, the other while slouching over. The results showed that 86% of the students who were in a slumped position found it easier to recall negative emotions/experiences. On the contrary, 87% of the students found it much easier to recall positive experiences when sitting up straight.
With this in mind, the same idea can be applied to your everyday life. Being slumped over can end up causing issues you may not be consciously aware of. Additionally, slouching over is seen as a position of defeat. This idea can end up seeping into your posture and thought processes. It is no wonder that negative emotions and past memories can begin to appear again if you are slouched over. Sitting up straight can help positive feelings and memories emerge instead of unmotivated/hopeless feelings.
Posture and Anxiety
Other studies have shown a clear correlation between posture and anxiety (among other mental health conditions). A study by Harvard University found that sitting up straight improved certain symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. With this connection between posture and anxiety, right now is the time to stand up straight.
Anxiety, depression, and stress can all be problematic situations. Oftentimes, we may be harsh on ourselves and feel hopeless in the process. Not all hope is lost however, making small changes like sitting up with your back straight and being consistent can make a big difference. Consider how you may be sitting right now, is your back straight? We may spend hours slouching without even realizing it – it’s a process that takes practice and discipline but in the end, it’s worth it.
Posture and Physical Health
While a person’s mental state and thoughts can be impacted by bad posture, one can only imagine the physical problems slumping over can have. As we continue to slump over when working or even relaxing, our back, neck, hip, and shoulders can all take a toll in the long-run. It is no surprise that posture can have a negative impact on your physical body. As long as a person keeps slouching over, they will continue to have problems in the future.
Keeping correct posture can be beneficial in a number of ways. Sitting up can help with your balance and form, especially when exercising. When we move around or do exercise with poor form our body becomes much more vulnerable to injuries. In an everyday sense, slumping over throughout the day can affect blood flow and oxygen in the body. This can make it harder to concentrate and may lead to fatigue. Because of this reduced blood flow, a person may even experience heartburn and other health issues.
This connection between posture and health continues to be a hot topic that many people aren’t aware of. We may spend a lot of our time sitting, much of which may be slumped over or with poor posture. Now stretch this out to years on end and you can see how your body may be impacted. While this may be concerning, it’s not too late to try and practice good posture. Let this be a reminder to sit up straight.
The Benefits of Practicing Good Posture
Now that we’ve looked at the negative relationship between poor posture and health, let’s take a look at all the benefits of sitting up straight. While it may seem like a simple change, it can do wonders for your mind and body alike. The benefits of sitting up straight may include:
- Increased energy
- Better concentration and mood
- Increased confidence
- Promotes positive emotions/thoughts instead of bad ones
- Better productivity and persistence
A Closer Look at Depression and How Posture can Help
Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety continue to affect millions of people every year. Depression can be a debilitating condition for some people – one that can make a person feel hopeless and down. These conditions are characterized by feelings of sadness and overall loss of interest. A person may feel down, oftentimes losing interest in things they used to enjoy. A person may also feel angry or agitated among other symptoms.
With this in mind, it’s important to know that a simple change in a person’s posture can make a difference in their daily life. Since there is a connection between a person’s posture and health (specifically mental health), sitting up straight can actually reduce some of the symptoms of depression/anxiety. Posture and physical health is sometimes overlooked in cases of depression. If a person’s body is not taken care of, their mind will be affected negatively as well.
Tips for Sitting Up Straight and Practicing Good Posture
So you may be wondering, how do I change my posture for the better? There are different techniques and things you can change in your daily life to improve your posture. With this in mind, practicing good posture takes effort and discipline. If you practice these tips your mind and body will both be thankful:
- Move around every 20 minutes or so to reset posture and blood flow (set a timer if needed)
- Place TV or monitor closer; having to hunch over to look at something because it’s too far can spell disaster in the long run
- Consider seeing the eye doctor if you are constantly hunching over or moving your head forward to see things
- Try posture-improving exercises, there are a variety of exercises like yoga that can improve posture and form. Search online to see how you can implement these exercises in your daily routine
Professional Treatment for Mental Health Disorders
While practicing good posture can do wonders for you, it’s still important to get comprehensive treatment for mental health disorders like depression, ADHD, or anxiety. At Montare Behavioral we provide quality mental health services and treatment with you in mind. There are several ways you can get help for your condition. However, each case is different and may require different resources.
Mental health treatment usually involves a combination of therapy and medication assistance. Certain medications can help a person’s symptoms and help them function throughout the day. This is paired with individual (or group) therapy. Some of the therapy options offered at Montare Behavioral Health include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Art therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Music therapy
At Montare we provide personalized and effective treatment for several mental disorders. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get much-needed help. Oftentimes, people may be hesitant to reach out for help and may put their mental health aside because of that. Here are a few of conditions that we help treat with passion and respect:
- Bipolar disorders
- Borderline personality disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
If you are suffering from any of these conditions, don’t be afraid to get help. During and after treatment you can continue to practice good posture and fully explore the connection between posture and anxiety (among other conditions). Small steps can make a difference in the long-run.
Start the Journey at Montare Behavioral Health
Now that you know the connection between posture and health – now’s the perfect time to start implementing it into your daily routines. If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health disorder, it may be best to look towards professional treatment. Our team is dedicated to making sure you and your loved ones get the best possible treatment and care. Let us help you to a better life today. Give us a call to learn more about our treatment options and mental health resources.