There are times when scientific research, with great aplomb, reaches a conclusion that we all know to be common sense. This is the case with two research papers about the correlation between posture and feeling angry or sad.
What posture says to us - silently
People, as social animals, are very good at recognising non-verbal communication like body language, gestures, facial expression. We learn this very early on in our development and become so fluent, we’re almost unaware of our skill. We’ve all had the experience of meeting someone and instantly knowing if the person was upset, or had recently argued, or was ecstatically happy just by the way they hold themselves. You’d know it even without seeing their facial expression. It’s these subtle cues that betray our inner dialogue when we’re at a job interview, or on a first date; body language conveys a lot of information. Is your body language communicating what you want other people to hear?
Measuring posture and emotions
Two research papers have measured and found correlation between the resting position of a person’s shoulders and their levels of sadness, and a second paper the relationship with levels of anger. When we use our body repeatedly in a particular way, it can change the neutral resting position. Anyone who has had an initial consultation or posture consultation with me will have heard me talk about this, perhaps even seen the evidence in their own posture. So if a person is often feeling sad, or angry – both emotions will result in a body position that includes the shoulders rounded forwards – then the shoulders find a new forward resting position.
Posture affects emotions
As the paper states, posture affects emotions and vice versa, which means we now have two ways of improving either posture, or mood.
If you have poor posture you can constructively affect it by promoting more positive emotions. How would you do that? How do you get yourself out of a bad mood? Here are some options: watch a funny film, phone a friend for a chat, go for a walk, breathe deeply, swing your arms, look at the sky.
If you feel sad or angry you can improve your emotional state by improving you posture. How would you do that? Below are two options based on my experience as a chiropractor.
How do you improve your posture?
At Vibrant World Chiropractic you have a choice depending on your level of need.
For a recent concern that requires a helping hand, book a Posture Consultation for ergonomic advice and specific exercises to stretch and strengthen postural muscles.
For a long-standing problem which causes pain, or an old injury which hasn’t healed, book an Initial Consultation for a full Chiropractic assessment. Find out how your nervous system can switch out of the fight/flight pattern associated with anxiety, anger and hunched shoulders.
If the thing that's making you sad or angry is your posture - that can certainly change for the better.