Improving Posture = Improved Stress Response

Now that the traditional stress of the holidays is over, we are back to good old everyday stress! As difficult as it may be to do so, try to be mindful of your posture in stressful situations. Having proper, upright posture will actually help your body and mind respond more favorably to the stress! And the best way to remember to hold upright posture during stress is to pay attention to it when you are not stressed…that way it will become a habit in all situations, stressful or not!

The question: Do slumped and upright postures affect stress responses?

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: In a fascinating study published in Health Psychology in June 2015, results showed that, “Upright participants reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, and lower fear, compared to slumped participants. Linguistic analysis showed slumped participants used more negative emotion words, first-person singular pronouns, affective process words, sadness words, and fewer positive emotion words and total words during the speech. Upright participants had higher pulse pressure during and after the stressor. Conclusions: 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.”