Sit up straight and smile!
Several studies have already demonstrated that proper posture helps improve mood and self-esteem in healthy people, but what effect does it have on those with depressive disorders? Researchers estimate that about 10 million Americans suffer from mild to moderate depression. A new study from the University of Auckland sought to understand more about the benefits of sitting up straight for these patients.
- The study consisted of 61 people, all with mild to moderate depressive disorders. Before the test, the researchers noted that all participants had significantly more slumped posture than the norm, indicating that slumped posture and depression often go hand in hand.
- Participants were randomly assigned to continue their normal posture or to adopt and maintain upright posture with the help of physiotherapy tape.
- The researchers then put them through two tests in which they had to deliver a five-minute speech and count backwards from 1,022 in steps of 13.
- Those with upright posture showed more enthusiasm, using more words and speaking more clearly during their speeches. They also demonstrated less fatigue and made fewer errors when counting.
- Those in the upright posture group also used fewer first-person singular pronouns, such as “I” and “me” in their speeches, suggesting they were less self-focused and had a more positive mood.
The report authors mention that “for severe, disabling depression, sitting posture is not likely to make much of a difference. But for mild or moderate depression, sitting up straight may help patients manage their mood and be more productive.”
Though more research needs to be done, especially with respect to those with severe depressive disorders, these findings clearly demonstrate that having upright posture can go a long way in improving one’s mood. The upright posture group showed more confidence and energy performing their tasks than those with slumped posture. So, next time you’re feeling fatigued or down, check and adjust your posture for a mood boost. It may be just what you needed.
You can read the full study here.