Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting or lying down. It can affect our breathing, muscle growth and mobility. And, while many people know and understand what the ideal posture is, very few make an effort to practice it daily.
What is relatively unknown is how posture, body and facial expressions can affect our mood.
Your posture can indicate your current mood and your emotional state. When in a negative mood, your body tends to slump or lean forward. When in a positive mood, your body stays upright.
The question is: Can changing posture consequently affect our mood?
A study by Veenstra, L., Schneider, I.K. & Koole, S.L. (2016) showed that a negative or a positive mood can be generated by manipulating posture of the participant. When participant's posture was upright or neutral, they proved to be somewhat resistant to a negative mood. And vice verca, the participant was more likely to be influenced into a positive mood when asked to stay in the upright position. Upright posture can also decrease fatigue and have a positive effect on someone with a diagnosed depression (Wilkes, C, et al, 2017).
__Research also showed that your behaviors and emotions are firmly tied. And motor actions and stable postures have correlating effects on emotional processes. __ (Michalak, J, et al, 2014).
Try this simple exercise: stand upright, put your hands on your hips, keep your chin up and your chest out. Doing this for just two minutes will raise your testosterone while also decreasing your cortisol levels. Which means you confidence and your ability to handle stress are improved.
Adopting a particular breathing pattern can also alter your emotional state. (Philippot, P, et al, 2010).
To examine one's posture you can use Plumbline Posture Assessment (Norris, C.M., & Berry, S, 1998). Ask a person you are assessing to stand sideways to you. The examiner should instruct him or her to assume a comfortable and relaxed posture. Pay attention to the deviations from the plumb line, such as:
Draw a line along those structures and you will get a sense of how good your subject's posture is. The straighter the line, the better the posture. Deviations will also indicate presence of restrictions in movement, which contribute to injury or health decay.
There are a number of factors that can change your posture such as: body conditions (pregnancy), working conditions, physical activities. And there is a number of ways to correct your posture. Education on exercises and techniques from our expert team will make you understand why your posture is the way it is and how to effectively counter it.
Kleinke, C. L., Peterson, T. R., & Rutledge, T. R. (1998). “Effects of Self-Generated Facial Expressions on Mood.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 272-279.
Michalak, J., Troje, N., Fischer, J., Vollmar, P., Heidenreich, T., & Schulte, D. (2009). “Embodiment of Sadness and Depression - Gait Patterns Associated with Dysphoric Mood.” Psychosomatic Medicine, 71(5), 580-587.
Michalak, J., Mischnat, J., & Teismann, T. (2014). “Sitting Posture Makes a Difference - Embodiment Effects on Depressive Memory Bias.” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 21(6), 519-524.
Norris, C. M., & Berry, S. (1998). “Occurrence of Common Lumbar Posture Types in the Student Sporting Population: An Initial Investigation.” Sports and Exercise Injury, 4, 15-18
Phillipot, P., Chapelle, G., & Blairy, S. (2010). “Respiratory Feedback in the Generation of Emotion.”CognitionandEmotion, 16(5),605-627.
Veenstra, L., Schneider, I. K., & Koole, S. L. (2016). “Embodied Mood Regulation: The Impact of Body Posture on Mood Recovery, Negative Thoughts, and Mood-congruent Recall.” Cognition andEmotion, 31(7),1361-1376.
Wilkes, C., Kydd, R., Sagar, M., Broadbent, E. (2017). “Upright Posture Improves Affect and Fatigue in People with Depressive Symptoms.” Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 54(3),143-149.