We all know it is not likely that a person who is sitting or standing with shoulders slumped and head hung low will greet us with a hearty, “Good Morning! Isn’t it a great day?” We read body language of that sort quite accurately and recognize that the individual with that posture is most likely sad, depressed, ill, or anxious.
It could be that the posture came about as a result of the feelings of depression or anxiety, but it turns out that the reverse is also true – our posture can actually affect our mood. A study from San Francisco State University found that slouching can actually increase negative thinking. The professor in charge reported: “You can take charge of yourself. Put yourself in an empowering, upright position. Remember that our thoughts and emotions are represented in our bodies. And vice versa: Our bodies can change our thoughts.”
You may remember the TED talk/YouTube video, in which Amy Cuddy explained how, “Your body language may shape who you are.” Cuddy was talking about power poses and the way in which they affect our thinking. She suggested that by moving our bodies into a posture that exudes confidence, we can actually create a feeling of confidence within ourselves. Have you tried that?
About a year ago the journal of the American Psychological Association reported on a study that concluded, “People who observe their bodily expression may experience a change in their self-evaluations and may also behave differently.”
This information is useful for those of us who spend so much time living “in our heads” Becoming aware of our bodies, truly connecting with them and with the earth beneath them, helps take us out of our heads. One way to encourage this shift is to adjust our bodies to more healthy, positivity-inducing positions. When we do this, we find ourselves more in the present moment and in a place where we can experience more of our real selves.
If you’d like to look into this further, here are some articles with helpful tips: