Posture: A Simple Way to Boost Confidence
Have you ever noticed how your body language changes according to your mood/inner state?
Well, it is quite a natural human behavior: once feeling confident our body leans towards expanding itself, and we assume positions that can communicate this to the rest of the world, while feeling blue makes us cuddle inwards, to protect ourselves from the outer influence.
In fact, it works both ways. Not only our mood influences our posture and body position, but the latter can influence our self-perception and self-confidence.
Confidence is about expanding yourself and your territory in a natural environment.
Jordan Peterson, the clinical psychologist, often talks about the hierarchy of lobsters, assuming that the postural positions (body positions) of lobsters define them in their social hierarchy.
Dr. Peterson in his book ‘12 Rules of Life‘ argues that human social hierarchy is very similar to the one of lobster’s – and practice proves him right.
In order to boost inner confidence, we should never forget to straighten our spine and shoulders, as it identifies us as the strongest individuals, able to survive and able to conquer.
When we do so, we immediately receive more respect and more perks from social interactions.
Some cultures have posture as one of the central factors for social identification – good posture is insisted since early childhood and is an indicator of social status.
A process of recognition is subconscious and is based on the lower level of our sensitivity, based on instincts. In other words, we subconsciously recognize the strongest, even if there are no obvious reasons (financial dominance, social status, etc.) to say so.
I don’t want to sound as if it is an extract from National Geographic or Animal Planet, but the parallel between posture and confidence and animal territorial conquest allows to understand the nature of us as human beings.
Important is this: expansion is natural. It boosts confidence and our power within the society.
Expansion of oneself means conquering more space and more territory to show personal dominance.
Where do we see expansion in the social environment? Well, vivid gestures, leaning outwards, embraces, active mimicking – are natural ways to expand ourselves.
So why do we forget about what is so natural for us?
Unfortunately, the pressure of time and information nowadays often brings us down and so our body suffers from stress and tension is locked in lower parts of the spine, while the greatest one usually concentrates in the neck area.
Hence, we experience awful back pain and neck pain, while scrolling down the Instagram feed or sitting in a completely unergonomic position while working.
From personal experience, the problems with posture are observed mostly within office workers who maintain a sedentary lifestyle and within the group of full-time mothers.
Probably, women with small children are on the top of the list of people strongly predisposed to spinal traumas – carrying children often assume completely unhealthy positions and slouching. Pregnancy leaves its stamp on the spinal position.
Most important is this: good posture increases confidence, and it is exactly what a mother of the newborn child needs – confidence (to avoid depression or low self-esteem, social isolation, etc.).
As a result of bad posture, our inner energy shrinks, our mood worsens, we experience lower self-esteem (due to a limitation in our movement, e.g., we cannot jump high or run faster over time, etc.)
In turn, good posture:
- increases self-confidence (natural expansion)
- helps to fight depression (Elizabeth Broadbent, author of the study conducted in the University of Auckland, gathering 74 participants. The research proved that slump sitting positions tend to increase frustration while sitting upright can increase our inner power, self-esteem and help fight depression)
- decreases the risk of getting spinal problems
- has a powerful social message (increases your status in the society)
- allows for a natural blood circulation
- increases metabolic rate
Well, minding your posture is a long-term investment that pays off immediately – your body feels better, as well as your mind.
What are the greatest enemies of good posture?
- iPhone (or whatever smartphone you have). Yes. Staring at your smartphone while walking leads towards neck slouching and as a result, the blood circulation is stuck, tension gathers in that area – it leads to headaches and migraine.
- Extreme hunching – sometimes poor posture is more comfortable than upright position. Well, not much you can do about it – mindfulness in this respect is the most important factor.
- Weak abdominal muscles (it is essential to keep the core muscles fit – poor abdominal muscles lead to deformation of the spine and put lots of pressure on your lower back).
- Sedentary lifestyle (prolonged sitting has some horrible effects on our body, and bad posture is one of them).
As a functional movement specialist, I firmly believe sedentary lifestyle to being the greatest reason for poor spinal health.
It is extremely important to have a well-equipped workplace.
The variety of ergonomic furniture on the market is astonishing, but there is no need to exceed the budget to receive a quality chair or desk, that will be perfectly optimized and adjusted to your body, lowering the risk of getting back pain.
Regular breaks in between working sessions are not an option; they are a must. Stretching even while seated and doing these back and neck exercises in your chair can reduce the muscular tension and do good over time.
With age, these acquired problems get worse and cause other diseases (due to poor blood circulation and even displacement of organs).
The infographic below sheds light on other negative effects sedentary lifestyle has on our physical and mental health:
My name is Artem and I am a founder of My Ergonomic Chair blog, that is my absolutely beloved project on office ergonomics and posture.
Being very dedicated to sports and well-being, I love to share my knowledge with others and help others to increase their level of comfort, productivity as well as improve health in order to live a better and longer life.
This post is part of the 31 Tips for Working Moms series. See the rest of the posts here: