Increase Strength and Mood with Posture

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Abstract

Body postures can project nonverbally how a human being feels. Postural changes affect thoughts, emotions, and energy levels, and conversely, energy levels, emotions, and thoughts affect posture. The purpose of this study was to explore how changes in erect or standing body posture affect positive energy levels, emotions, and thoughts. For example, increases in perceived arm muscle strength as well as recall of positive emotional memories due to posture changes will positively affect client beliefs about coping with difficult life circumstances. In this study, 33 participants paired up as “testers” or “subjects” and took turns standing either in an erect or collapsed/slouched posture. All subjects proceeded through a manual muscle testing procedure by raising their arms and attempting to resist the steady downward pressure applied by the tester to their forearm near their wrists. All but one (98%) of the subjects perceived greater arm strength as they resisted the downward pressure when they stood in an erect posture compared with when they stood in a collapsed/slouched posture. Similarly, testers observed that the subject were much stronger in their ability to resist the downward pressure in the erect versus slouched position (p < .01). The somatic feedback of muscle strength and the guided practice of how body position may affect recall of memories can be used to demonstrate the mind/emotion and body interactions. This study points out that psychology and bioneurofeedback training needs to understand how important body posture, movement, and somatic feedback are as part of the therapeutic and teaching process. Somatic awareness can be used as a tool to change behavior because changing the posture affects strength and recall of memories, which are important parts of the mind-body equation that underlies health and illness.

Don't slouch! How many times do I have to tell you to sit up straight?

I couldn't believe it, I could not think of any positive thoughts while looking down!

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