Recently I was having a session with a patient and we got to talking about how posture dictates how you feel and how you will be perceived by other people.
But with so much stimulation biding for your attention digitally, it’s no wonder that we as a nation have a crumbling posture. Not only do we have poor posture, we are mentally scattered.
So lets recap. With over stimulation, focus becomes fuzzy, and most importantly, we become progressively disconnected to our bodies. Look around you. Everyone seems to be so connected to their digital device. And when they are connected to their devices, observe their posture.
Inevitably, they are in hunched, guarded, and closed off positions, collectively called “low power” positions, according to Amy Cuddy, who is a researcher on body language at Harvard University.
When in a low power position, there is a biochemical and physiological shift which increases anxiety, stress, and worry. When our mind operates out of this fear mindset, we perpetuate negativity and become more self absorbed, anxious, and stressed. Who wants that?
What’s interesting is that when the subjects in Amy Cuddy’s study were placed in a high powered position, (hands on hips, shoulders back, chin up), their hormones had a supportive effect to improve confidence, and decrease anxiety and stress. She found that just changing posture, from a low powered to a high powered one (pictured below), had such a profound positive effect.
So take home message is that it’s much easier to act your way into having a new mindset, than to think your way into it.
So today, I wanted to show you how you can improve your high power posture to enhance your confidence, have more control, and get connected with your body.
- FirstShoulders Back: Interlace your hands behind you and sit up tall, it’ll help to stretch the front side of your shoulders and keep your shoulders back.
- Shoulder Rolls: Raise your shoulders in a circular motion: up, back, and down, pushing the shoulder blades back as far as you can. Repeat these 10 times. It’ll help increase circulation in your upper neck and shoulders and improve circulation to our brain too. 🙂
- Hands to back of your head: Now bring your hands to the back of your head and interlace them. Keep the elbows back and shoulders back. This will open your body and allow for a good stretch, just what you need to remind yourself that open posture is key.
- Lastly, Extend your neck by looking up at the ceiling. You’ll feel the front of your neck muscles stretch as these muscles have been overworked to keep your head (average 20-25 lbs) balanced on your spine. Those of you who have neck injuries, may need to support your head with your hands.
Through the day, remember to engage in high powered positions where you are open and wide vs closed off and guarded to help you stay on top of your game. This will ensure that you limit stress and anxiety in your life too.
Remember, movement, like posture, tells the brain how it feels and what it remembers. As your movement becomes more open and at ease, our perception of ourselves also has the potential to shift. This is what I consider reprogramming.
It is scientifically proven that posture not only influences the way we feel, it also shapes the way we think about ourselves. And our self understanding can either promote or hinder our ability to connect with others, to be productive, make positive changes, and, most importantly, to be present in our lives.
In my experience in treating thousands of patients at my center, I find that posture education and awareness makes the biggest impact in the overall health of those patients.
I urge you to bring awareness to your posture so that you can focus better and be present in your day to day life.
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. Thanks for watching and/or reading with me today. See you soon.