Here is your friendly reminder to stand up straight with your shoulders back. Not only because it's better for your spinal health, but it will also improve your social and professional life. Here's why.
Imagine you had a colleague who showed up to work in a bulletproof vest everyday. How would that make you feel? Probably pretty uncomfortable, to say the least.
And that makes sense. Even though there is nothing threatening about a bulletproof vest in itself; the whole fact that somebody apparently feels the need to cover up like that can make you feel really uneasy. Are they expecting something? Should you be taking precautions too?
Here's the funny thing: to our subconscious, a person with hunched over posture actually looks kind of similar, because of what we all intuitively know about the mind-body connection.
A hunched over posture communicates defensiveness. You look like you're preparing for a fight – literally. Just like a fighter in the ring, you're dropping your chin and your shoulders, shielding your head and vital organs; making yourself smaller and harder to hit in general.
An upright posture, on the other hand exposes head and body completely. This is a terrible stance to assume when you're in a fight; so you would only assume this posture if you don't feel threatened.
Good posture is a way of saying, I am not afraid that you will attack me. This is why such a posture communicates trust and confidence instead.
In addition to putting people at ease, good posture also makes you seem more open and inviting – again because of the mind-body connection.
After all, opening up your chest is what you do when you're pulling things towards yourself. Think of dumbbell rows in the gym. You pull with your lats (latissimus dorsi) on your back, opening up your chest as you pull the dumbbell towards yourself.
On the flip side of that, closing your chest is the movement you make when you're pushing things away.
This is why your posture accurately communicates how you take in the world. Are you open and inviting, confidently engaging with the world and willing to experience new things and hear new viewpoints? Then you're likely to have better posture. Are you closed off and defensive? Then, your posture is probably not great.
The mind-body connection is incredibly obvious, in this regard.
Think about it: have you ever met somebody who was proud, confident and open-minded, but whose posture was terribly hunched over?
Or have you ever met somebody who was incredibly insecure and defensive, but whose posture was amazing: standing up tall and relaxed with their shoulders back?
I bet you haven't.
The good news here, is that this mind-body connection works both ways. Because of this, you can actually fake it till you make it.
Try it. Stand up, right now. Stand up as straight as you possibly can. Put your shoulders back. Align the back of your head, your shoulder blades, your butt and your ankles in a straight line.
Then, take a deep breath and feel your chest open up. Doesn't that just feel like you're almost literally breathing in confidence?
Make a habit out of this and you can turn your body into a machine that creates confidence out of thin air.
A better posture instantly makes you look taller, stronger, more confident and at the same time more sympathetic and approachable. In short, having good posture is the quickest and simplest way to look more attractive all around.
So, next time you find yourself slouched over and stressed out, remember:
You need to open up