Friday, August 7, 2015

which came first: the posture or the emotion?

Can your posture affect your mood? Can your mood affect your posture? And if posture can affect one's mood, can it affect one's chemical responses in the body? Well, evidently, yes!

Mood and energy levels
Here's an interesting study in which subjects either traveled down a hallway skipping and swinging their arms upward motion, or slouched as the walked down the hall. No surprise, most of the skippers felt more energetic, happier, and positive. The slouchers (think red light reflex) felt sad, lonely, isolated, sleeping, and “zombie-like.”

Memory
Other studies show body posture can affect the recall of positive or negative memories. When participants sat in a slouched position looking downward they it recalled more hopeless, helpless, powerless, and negative memories than positive ones. Those sitting upright and looking upward, found it easier to recall empowering, positive memories. Upright posture can also improve memory because sitting up straight increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

Builds confidence
Here's a study in which students were divided into two groups and instructed to take an upright or slumped posture while answering questions in a business interview. You guess it: Those with upright posture felt themselves empowered to rate themselves more highly when in the upright rather than the slouched position. Check out this video of Amy Cuddy’s 2012 TedTalk in which she talks about the power of posture.

Good for your innards 
A slouched posture can contribute to acid reflux, constipation, and even hernias. Hunched shoulders can lead to a less than ideal digestion. Slump into poor posture and you literally compress your stomach, intestines and other abdominal organs. Personally, I like to go for a leisurely walk after eating, which also helps with digestion.

Bone health and prevents osteoporosis
A properly aligned skeleton puts less stress on your spine and joints. Standing up straight should actually not take a lot of effort. Poor posture, on the other hand, requires your muscles and connective tissue to "hold you up" and over time your bones can actually become weaker.

Alleviate headaches
Heres' a study in which some participants were asked to perform posture exercises every two to three hours, given reminders to relax muscles, and educated as to the benefits of posture. Other participants did not follow the program. At the end of eight months, the intervention group reported 41 percent fewer headaches, 43 percent less neck and shoulder pain, and a 51 percent reduction in the use of pain medication.

So when I see bodies stuck the green light, red light and trauma reflexes I bet know they could benefit from some Hanna Somatic Education! 

If you want to learn how to get out of pain, function and live better, then let's talk. I work with clients in person in classes, 1-on-1, and you can email me to train via Skype

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