Monday, March 30, 2015

One Simple Way to Fight Stress

What do you feel when you're stressed? If you're experiencing a high level of stress right now, this may be an easy exercise for you. For many people, the physical reaction can include a sense of painful, stiff weight on the neck and shoulders; as if some mysterious force is pulling you down, urging you to curl up into a little ball and avoid the stress triggers. That's stress in a nutshell, and one of the consequences, as you might imagine from the above picture, is poor posture.

According to a recent study, stress might not only cause poor posture; the opposite might actually be the case. The study compared upright, seated posture to slumped seated posture to evaluate how different postures affected emotions / mood, particularly in the face of stress. Results showed that "upright participants reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, and lower fear, compared to slumped participants." Another study found that sitting up straight also gives people more confidence in their own thoughts.

The researchers' concluding remarks were even more revealing: "Adopting an upright seated posture in the face of stress can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture. Furthermore, sitting upright increases rate of speech and reduces self-focus. Sitting upright may be a simple behavioral strategy to help build resilience to stress."

The take-home message: Sit up straight and reduce your stress! By the way, proper posture is also a great way to prevent spine-related aches and pains. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Doran for more information!

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