It sounds unfair but people do tend to judge us based on our appearance, and a good part of it is posture. This is especially true when meeting someone for the first time—say, for example, a job interview or a blind date. Do you slouch and roll your shoulders forward, making you appear unsure of yourself? Is your head misaligned with your shoulders and hips? Or do you stand up straight, a picture of confidence, balance and gracefulness? Are you someone who seems capable and competent?
What kind of message is your body sending to those whom you interact with everyday?
Bad habits during the younger years are to be blamed for our bodies’ present structural woes. Years of slouching and leading a sedentary lifestyle may be taking their toll on your body now. The use (or misuse) of technology can also wreak havoc on our physiques. Look around your office. People are hunched over laptops, tablets and smartphones. We are now all hunched over our devices.
If you’re seeing this in your life right now, it’s never too late to make a change for the better.
- Always keep your ears, shoulders and hips in alignment. Do this while holding your chin parallel to the floor and with your weight evenly distributed on your feet.
- Get sufficient lumbar support. It’s harder to maintain good posture while sitting than standing. It’s actually advisable to take breaks from long period of sitting down. If you can’t avoid this, use a small pillow for added lumbar support. The cushion should fit into the hollow of your lower back. Keep your feet flat on the floor when sitting.
- Avoid the “Smartphone Slump”. Your head typically weighs from 7-11 pounds–now that’s a bowling ball. Now imagine this ball pulling your shoulders down and your entire frame askew. Your muscles will need to work harder to support your body in this unnatural position, making you prone to muscle spasms and pains. Don’t. Just…don’t. If you have to check your phone it is better to raise it to your eye level. You may look like you’re taking a selfie but in this social media age, who isn’t?
- Move. You are more likely to slouch when sitting. No matter how strong you are your muscles are they cannot sustain a particular position for long periods of time. Get up from your desk at least every 30-45 minutes.
- Develop an awareness for your posture. Always check your position and alignment. Improvement will not happen overnight. You don’t have to look like a Marine every time but with consistency you can combat the effects of your bad habits.
When your body is properly aligned, these things happen:
- Your breathing improves
- Your memory and learning improves
- You appear taller and slimmer
- You get perceived as authoritative and trustworthy
- You become more confident and your mood improves
Our physiology is closely tied with our emotions and the benefits to having a good posture can both be physical and psychological.
There is still hope. Good posture and better health can be within your reach.