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How Posture Affects Your Mental Health

by Dr. Vikas Sharma, Manual Medicine Practitioner and Visiting Master at AyurMa

How Posture Affects Your Mental Health by Dr Vikas Sharma, Manual Medicine Practitioner and Visiting Master at AyurMa

Your posture is the body's reaction to gravity. While it’s the attitude your body assumes during inactivity (when you’re not moving), it actually entails the coordinated action of many muscles working together to maintain stability. While it seems static, your posture is adapted constantly by these muscles.

There are many factors at play in the process of maintaining our posture, including our perception, emotions, and, of course, the environment we’re in.

Poor posture—which might look like slouching, slumping, rounded shoulders, or head either too far forward or back—can have a detrimental impact on your overall health.

Poor posture can cause:

  • Increased pressure on the spine, making it more prone to injury and degeneration

  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain

  • Decreased flexibility

  • Impeded joint movement

  • Balance issues and increased risk of falling

  • Issues with digestion

  • Breathing disorders that impact other areas including the heart and phrenic nerve

  • Core muscle imbalance leading to incontinence and/or pelvic organ prolapse in women

Looking at these symptoms, it’s easy to see why maintaining good posture can hugely improve your well-being in many different areas.

It's not just the physical body that’s impacted by your posture. Research shows that posture also plays a significant role in mental health by influencing mood, self-esteem, and stress levels. Poor posture can contribute to feelings of depression, anxiety, and fatigue, while good posture has been shown to promote confidence, positivity, and better stress management. Additionally, maintaining proper posture can support cognitive function and overall well-being by improving circulation and reducing muscle tension.

Poor posture can negatively impact mental health in several ways:

  • Musculoskeletal Pain: Musculoskeletal issues such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches in turn contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression.

  • Decreased Confidence: A slouched posture has been shown to impact confidence and self-esteem, contributing to a negative self-perception.

  • Impaired Breathing: May restrict proper breathing mechanics, leading to shallow breathing or reduced lung capacity. Poor breathing patterns are associated with increased stress and anxiety.

  • Cognitive Function: Poor posture affects blood flow to the brain, which can reduce alertness, concentration, and overall mental clarity.

  • Body Image and Self-Perception: Chronic poor posture can distort body image and lead to negative self-perception. This can contribute to mental health issues such as body dysmorphia, anxiety, and depression.

There are a range of ways Manual Medicine can support in correcting posture for optimal well-being of body and mind. Techniques and tools include Chiropractic and Osteopathic manipulations and adjustments, Emotional Liberation Breathing, Physical Therapy exercises, and ergonomic modifications.

By addressing posture-related problems, manual medicine practitioners aim to promote physical health and enhance mental health outcomes.

Advice From a Manual Medicine Expert for Maintaining Good Posture

Now we know how essential good posture is for health and mental well-being, here are some tips from manual medicine on maintaining it throughout the day:

  • Awareness: Be mindful of your posture throughout the day – regularly check in to ensure you are sitting, standing, and moving correctly.

  • Proper Alignment: Your ears, shoulders, and hips should be in a straight line when standing or sitting. Avoid slouching or leaning forward excessively.

  • Ergonomic Furniture: Use ergonomic chairs, mattresses, and pillows that maintain the natural curvature of your spine.

  • Strengthening Exercises: Strong core muscles can help support your spine and in turn improve posture.

  • Stretching Exercises: Regular stretching can help alleviate muscle tension and improve flexibility, contributing to better posture. Focus on stretches for your chest, shoulders, hips, and hamstrings.

  • Regular Movement: Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing in one position. Take breaks to move around and stretch every hour if possible.

  • Proper Lifting Technique: When lifting objects, bend at the knees and hips rather than the waist. Keep the object close to your body and use your leg muscles to lift.

  • Mind-Body and Breathing Exercises: Practices like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi can improve posture, balance, and body awareness through mindful movement and breath work.

  • Regular Healthcare Check-ups: A regular check-up with a healthcare professional such as a chiropractor or physical therapist can help support with any underlying issues of poor posture.

By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can maintain good posture and reduce the risk of developing posture-related problems in the long term.

Join Dr. Sharma at AyurMa at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru from April 17 to May 16, 2024, and experience the transformative effects of manual medicine.


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