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Can posture have an effect on mental health?

A new study has revealed that your posture can in fact have a significant effect on your mental health.

The research, published by the University of Calgary, found that those who ‘slumped’ were more likely to give up on goals and reported higher stress levels than those with a positive posture.

Slumping, as opposed to standing tall with the head held high, has also been linked with a negative thought process. The York University study found that those who were asked to stand up straight with good posture were more easily able to generate ‘positive thoughts’ than those who were asked to slump.

Several other studies have found similar results. The University of Auckland, for example, revealed that standing correctly with an upright posture could alleviate a low mood.

In this particular study, 74 adult participants were asked to stand as they would naturally and were then assessed using two standardised stress tests – one involving delivering a speech while the other required participants to perform a complicated arithmetic test.

The test results show that those who naturally stood upright scored higher for positive mood and self-esteem and reported less fatigue, compared to those who adopted a natural slumped posture.

Likewise, commenting on a similar study recently published by the San Francisco State University on the effects of slumping on academic students, lead author Erik Peper said: “For people who are anxious about math, posture makes a giant difference.

“The slumped-over position shuts them down and their brains do not work as well. They cannot think as clearly.”

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