A new study from the University of Auckland published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, reveals the link between posture and mood in healthy populations.
Elizabeth Broadbent, Ph.D., one of the authors of the new study, said in a statement
, “These studies suggest that, compared to sitting in a slumped position, sitting upright can make you feel more proud after a success, increase your persistence at an unsolvable task, and make you feel more confident in your thoughts.” Broadbent is also an associate professor of health psychology at the University of Auckland.
“Research also suggests that sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, feel less fearful, and have higher self-esteem after a stressful task,” Broadbent added.
The experts included 61 participants in the study, who were identified as having mild to moderate depression. The group as a whole was more likely to sit with 'stooped shoulders and a rounded back', compared to people without depression.
Researchers randomly assigned the participants to either an upright-posture group or a usual-posture group. First, they shifted their sight to straight ahead, straightened their backs, and leveled their shoulders. Then, they were asked to stretch the tops of their heads toward the ceiling while gently drawing their shoulder blades down and together.
Researchers asked the participants to perform a widely used to elicit stress while sitting this way. The test involved giving a five-minute speech, which they were told would be judged, and then counting backward from 1,022 in steps of 13. Participants were also asked to fill out questionnaires measuring their mood symptoms.
According to Broadbent, the results showed, “In our study, asking individuals with mild to moderate depression to sit upright reduced their fatigue and increased their enthusiasm over a short time period, compared to individuals who sat in their usual posture.”
Broadbent added, “participants sitting upright spoke more words in total during the stressful speech task, but reduced how much they used first-person singular pronouns (such as “me” and “I”). This suggests that they had more energy, had less negative mood, and were less self-focused.”