Tuesday, March 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Good posture can make you feel better

By Sharon Naylor
Creators.com

Are you a slumper? Check your posture right now to see if your shoulders are rounded forward and your back curled. Chances are you’ve eased into your natural posture: slouched down, head in alignment with your spine, shoulders back, back not straight. And your brain may be paying the price.

Researchers at several top academic institutions, including Harvard and Columbia universities, have been studying the link between bad posture and the brain for decades, and their recent findings show that improving posture can improve the brain’s function, and thus your mood and memory levels.

Researchers, for instance, found that when you assume what they call “power poses” of confident stance and tall, uplifted posture, your decision-making is subconsciously affected. When you stand or sit up taller, and pull your shoulders back and outward, your brain gets a signal that it’s the confident, powerful you in charge of your thinking, and, in turn, you might make more confident choices.

A 2003 Ohio State University study found that when you shake your head “no,” or nod your head “yes” while observing a scenario or listening to information, you may form positive or negative opinions about your observations depending on the motion of your head and its positive or negative message to the brain. And when you sit up straight, you’re more likely to think positively and recall more positive memories. Slumping and slouching can generate negative memories, thoughts and perceptions, which creates stress hormones in the brain, as opposed to happier hormones that can trickle down into your daily choices and create a more energetic, happier you that feels like working out. Everything is connected, and it all starts with how you hold your frame.

Dana Carney, a social psychologist at UC Berkeley, conducted a 2010 survey that was among the first to reveal that power poses demonstrating confidence (regardless of whether or not a person actually feels confident) increase levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — in the brain. Because testosterone is associated with self-confidence, having good posture can create hormones in the brain that make you feel more self-assured. Carney says the power pose sends a signal to the brain, and what begins as a neural impulse turns into an actual, physiological response that boosts brainpower.

And science aside, your posture affects how you see yourself, as well as how others see you. If you’re slumped down and slouching during a job interview, for example, the interviewer will likely see you as less confident, and perhaps will have a neural impulse to judge you as less capable. If you have good posture, with your shoulders back and your body aligned, you can look better in your clothes and will likely receive compliments from loved ones, which will boost your confidence and mood. You could also just love how you look in the mirror, which will make you feel lighter and more positive.

Good posture also pertains to walking. If you walk slumped down and in a shuffle, you look bedraggled and overwrought, which can make you actually feel bedraggled and overwrought. When you walk uplifted and with confidence, your brain registers “uplifted and with confidence,” and pumps out happy hormones to match the message.

Physical pain from bad posture can affect your brain, too. When you slouch often, you may experience back, neck, shoulder and even wrist pain, which can send signals to the brain that you’re suffering. The brain then needs to create pain-reducing hormones rather than happy ones. It’s quite hard to feel happy when you’re achy, sore or in such pain that you have to take medication for relief. Pain can cause depression when the brain gets sapped of positive hormones.

So in many connected ways, good posture makes for a happier brain. And with your happier brain, you have better relationships, fitness, work performance, more intimacy and other positive effects on your lifestyle.

There are several ways to improve your posture, including taking a Yoga for Better Posture class, or just yoga classes in general, since yoga elongates the body and retrains your frame to be more upright with your shoulders back and spine aligned, the position will soon feel more natural to you. Exercise as a whole also helps to improve posture.

You might also ask a co-worker or relative to help you get more mindful of your posture, with a gentle touch on your shoulder if you’re slouched down at your desk or kitchen counter. When you feel the touch, you’ll straighten up your posture and send a positive message to your brain. And even if you get a hundred touches in a day, you’ll eventually retrain your frame to hold power poses, and your helper won’t have to signal you to straighten up as often.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Nominees sought for city’s human rights awards

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    Pedal power: It’s a different kind of March Madness

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    STEM-Tastic Sunday highlights summer opportunities

    By Chloe Lessard | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    County: Baby Justice was on Social Services’ radar

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Budget standoff leaves California college hopefuls in limbo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Appeals court upholds protection for threatened seabird

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    House to vote on Homeland bill without conditions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    State to supply just 20 percent of water

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: Rampant crime on the streets of Davis

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Public broadband, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Alcoholic liver disease strikes Hispanics years earlier

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Embroiderers will discuss needlework tools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Tuleyome needs volunteers for work party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    ‘Pearls Before Swine’ joins daily comics lineup

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Winter market wraps up Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    DCC Nursery School hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Join a fitness party at Zumba class

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Logos Books hosts conversation groups, poetry readings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Get a taste of Middle Earth at library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Holmes’ talent showcased

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Bingo games Sunday will benefit DHS Madrigals’ trip

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Go all in for fun at Texas Hold ‘Em tournament

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    City says it did not OK Ygrene mailers

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A6

     
    Sure and begorrah!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Overeaters get support at meetings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

     
    Cycle de Mayo kicks off Bike Month

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Klein’s book featured at Authors on the Move

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Forum

    The kids aren’t interested

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    One more family insult

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

     
    Cannery CFD creates unequal taxation patchwork

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Climate changes are inevitable

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    Act for our children’s future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

    UCD alums will want to stay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    End the use of this word

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

    Thanks for act of kindness

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Sports

    Lady Blue Devils in semis Tuesday night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Aggie men host two big ones this week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Dream run ends for Davis’ master wrestlers

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys net an easy tennis victory

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    In the Clubhouse: Summerhays Jr. talks about new post at El Macero CC

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Newly acquired Smith scores in Sharks’ victory

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Aggie lacrosse team takes home opener

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    Blue Devil girls look for revenge in the pool

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    DHS boys aim to repeat as section swim champs

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Dunn graduates from Marine Corps basic training

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Thursday Live! features Keith Cary, Wyatt Hesemeyer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    Songs of the Civil War to be performed by Anonymous 4

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Davis Chorale starts year with demanding music

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Dieter W. Gruenwedel

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Otto Vasak

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7