Our thoughts and emotions affect our physical body. The reverse is also true: our physical body affects our thoughts and emotions. We see an example of this with our posture. Check out the two pics below. What do you feel when you look at each one?
The picture on the left evokes confidence, health, strength and stability. While the picture on the right evokes insecurity, sickness, weakness and fragility.
These qualities become expressed to varying degrees depending on how we hold ourselves in sitting or in standing, in public or in private.
In fact, if you're acting (be it charades or a starring role in a film), you'll naturally put your body into a certain position or posture to evoke a specific feeling or emotion. The posture itself can help bring forth these feelings (#freeactingtip).
How do you feel during the course of the day? Do you ever feel anxious, uncertain or lacking in confidence? Do you feel old, tired, and fatigued? Do you feel grumpy, irritable or just unhappy?
How are you carrying yourself during the course of the day? What position is your spine in? Are you sitting or standing tall with your shoulders pulled back and lower abdominals engaged? Or are you slumped forward with rounded shoulders and slack abdominals?
Improve Your Mood, Confidence and Energy Level!
Sitting and standing up straighter (e.g. the above picture on the left) can have wondrous effects. With improved spinal alignment comes improved nervous system function. Improved nervous system function = more energy and less irritability!
From an energy medicine perspective, good posture also improves the flow of life force energy throughout our meridians, chakras and other energy systems. This brings a sense of contentment, elevating our mood to one of peace and happiness.
So, what can we do?
If you are someone who has struggled with poor posture for most of your life, there is still hope
Step 1: Intention! You do have to put some thought and focus into any kind of behavior change, especially one that you want to be a permanent change. Create a daily reminder for yourself whether on a sticky note, a computer note, writing on your mirror, or a tattoo.........do you think I'm joking about that last one?
Step 2: Exercises! Muscles imbalances will make achieving and maintaining good posture very difficult. Scroll to the end of this post for some exercises to correct common imbalances.
Step 3: Support! Emotional support, that is (don't bother with braces or technology that attach to your person). Get a friend, coworker, or spouse to keep you accountable. It's easier for someone else to notice when you've slumped into your old ways.
Step 4: Reflect! Spend a few minutes at bedtime thinking back over your day. How often were you aware of your posture? How many times did your support person have to correct you? Did you notice any correlations between your posture and your mood? This time of reflection will help bring your awareness back to the issue and further strengthen the new neural connections your brain is trying to lay down (this is why permanent behavior and lifestyle changes can take a while).
1) Chin tucks (can be done upright or lying down): Begin with your head and neck in your normal resting position. Then retract your head straight back creating a slight double chin effect. Hold the retracted position for 5 seconds then release. Repeat 10 times up to 3 times per day.
2) Scapula Squeezes: Begin with arms out to the side and elbows bent to 90 degrees. Squeeze your shoulder blades together (your arms will move backward a bit too). Hold the squeeze for 5 seconds and then release. Repeat 10 times up to 3 times per day.
3) Lower Abdominal (TA) Contractions: Begin lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Flatten your lower back to the ground feeling your lower abdomen tighten. Hold the contraction for 5 seconds then release. Repeat 10 times up to 3 times per day.
You can do this! The world needs you to be your most confident, healthy, and happy self! #movementislife #exerciseismedicine #spinalhealth #beyourbestself
Photo credits: http://chatswoodchiropractic.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Muscle-Imbalance.png, https://i2.wp.com/blog.dinopt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/scapular-squeezes.jpg, https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/52a51932e4b02f079a917c8c/1413847935755-A8WZDBAEKIWGMJF6KU2V/?content-type=image%2Fpng, https://backintelligence.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/1-Chin-Tucks-Exercise.png