Posture and emotion are connected. Together they form the link that makes up your body language. Cross your arms when in a group and you could be sending out a message that you are closed to that group or on the defensive. However, your everyday posture also speaks volumes about you.
The way you walk and the way you sit is an expression of you. I have seen people from afar and have been unable to recognize their face due to the distance, but could at least get a clue of who they were just by looking at their walk.
Chicken or the Egg – which came first?
Have you ever watched a depressed person walk? Their shoulders are rounded forward, neck dropped low. Their posture expresses sadness. Have you ever seen a person who is full of joy and purpose walk? Shoulders back, head up and off they go. My question is this: Which came first? The emotion probably came first, let’s say for this example, one of depression. The posture would have come second – rounded shoulders, drooped head. However, what if their bodies got locked into that position? Is it possible that their learned posture suddenly affects their mood? So people who look down, get down. In other words, posture might be a double-edged sword with posture reinforcing existing emotions.
You cannot separate posture and emotion. We make the same mistake if we separate body and mind. Your brain influences your body and vice versa. The Latin term, “Mens sana in corpore sano” or “a sound mind in a sound body,” comes to mind. Listen to someone who has gone through a bad experience and you might hear them talk about comfort food, or they might tell you how they just wanted to ‘curl up and die’. These terms describe the link between mind and body.
So, where does this leave us? If you are battling psychologically go and get some help. Chat to a friend, teacher, psychologist. Make a plan and act on it. Also, get moving: Go for a swim, ride a bike, go for a run or sweat it out in a gym. Your body needs movement. I have often used this hashtag on tweets – #movementismedicine and #movementismeditation. I believe that with every fiber of my being. Get your postural muscles strong. Those muscles are muscles that go down your back. Sit straight, stand straight, look up. You can’t plan your future while slouching, (unless you want a slouchy future).
I have written more on this subject here – The Happy Blog. So, remember, posture and emotion go hand in hand.