Growing up, we’ve all been scolded by our mothers to “sit up straight!” And of course, we’d roll our eyes and just sit up in our chairs without ever asking why. So we may have all have grown up knowing that sitting up straight was what we were supposed to do, but we never really got any explanation why it’s good for us. I decided to investigate the posture myth and find out why good posture is beneficial. What I found surprised me!
San Francisco State University did a study that found that when given the choice between walking down a hallway slouched or skipping, the slouchers showed more depression and lowered levels of energy than the skippers. It’s not surprising that a confident posture could raise self-esteem therefore making you feel a heightened mood. Carrying yourself with your chest out facing forward and our spine straight can make someone emotionally strong. Perhaps that’s why we call weak people “spineless.”
It Can Make you More Successful
Bosses perceive their employees as less vital when they are sitting slumped in their desk. In fact, people generally will find someone with bad posture as less competent. Moral of the story, you’re not going to get a promotion unless you practice that good posture. [Side-note: I literally just sat up straighter after I typed that, to be honest.]
Makes You “Regular”
One reason that yoga has such positive effects on your body is that it encourages good posture and allows your intestines to not get obstructed, giving you to abilities to have more healthy bowel movements. When you slouch in a hovered position, your insides also get squashed! To avoid uncomfortable (and embarrassing) constipation, the secret could be as easy and adjusting your sitting patterns.
Makes You Look Thinner
Sitting upright with a straight back takes away those belly rolls. So if you want to look fitter, just sit properly!
Lowers Stress Levels
Harvard did a study that found people who had more “powerful” postures saw a 20% increase in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in cortisol levels. On the contrary, testosterone levels were 10% less and cortisol levels were 15% higher in the people that slouched in their seats. What does this mean? It translates into lowered self-esteem and high levels of stress. Sitting in a “compounded position” also effects breathing because the shallow breaths cause the heart to strain more during breathing and then the heart is forced to pump faster, causing a highly stressful experience.
Your Thoughts will Become Happier
When we sit up straight, we are more likely to think of positive thoughts or form positive memories.
It will Make you Feel More Powerful
Studies at Harvard and Columbia Universities have shown that unconsciously, good posture can effect our decision-making. People with good posture were 45% more likely to have the confidence to go in on risky bets. (Maybe you should try to slouch if you’re going to Las Vegas then!) Additionally, even if you don’t necessarily feel more powerful from sitting up straight, others will perceive you as a stronger and more in-control individual.
I guess our moms were right, we really all should be sitting up straight. It can have substantial influences on our health, happiness and even careers!