A secret wish that we all have, somewhere playing at the back of our mind, is to be stress free. The non-stop daily schedule with strict deadlines and a billion things to do can definitely take a toll on our health no matter how good we are at multi-tasking. This chase for money, or call it a means of better living, doesn’t come easy. But your health is not what you should be willing to compromise on. Both, your physical and mental health, are essential for your well-being. There are various factors that lead to stress, anxiety and depression. We don’t always realise it, but there are some habits we start adopting at that time that are actually warning signs. A case in point is your posture.
Slumped posture is a diagnostic feature of depression. The negative thinking or low level of energy can harm us in more ways than one. Some research studies had stated earlier that good posture can work wonders in boosting one’s confidence, mood and energy levels. However, these studies were conducted largely on healthy samples. A new study done by researchers at the University of Auckland aimed to investigate whether changing posture could reduce negative affect and fatigue in people with mild to moderate depression undergoing a stressful task and they came about with positive results.
According to the study, adopting an upright posture may increase positive affect, reduce fatigue, and decrease self-focus in people with mild-to-moderate depression. “These studies suggest that, compared to sitting in a slumped position, sitting upright can make you feel more proud after a success, increase your persistence at an unsolvable task, and make you feel more confident in your thoughts,” said Elizabeth Broadbent, one of the authors of the study. “Research also suggests that sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, feel less fearful, and have higher self-esteem after a stressful task.”
The researchers conducted a study involving sixty-one community participants who screened positive for mild to moderate depression. The effects of physiotherapy tape on cognitive function were monitored. They were randomised to sit with usual posture or upright posture and physiotherapy tape was applied. Participants completed the Trier Social Stress Test speech task. Changes in affect and fatigue were assessed. The words spoken by the participants during their speeches were analysed.
It was found that postural manipulation significantly improved posture and increased high arousal positive affect and fatigue compared to usual posture. This preliminary study suggests that straightening your posture can have beneficial effects.