Do you slouch? Most of us probably do, at least some of the time. It seems so natural to hunch over our steering wheels as we drive to work, over our cell phones while texting, and over our computer keyboard as we work at our desks. Unfortunately, recent research suggests that slouching can not only lead to back and neck pain – it can even affect your mood!
Apparently, slouching makes you depressed. At least that’s what Johannes Michalak (a clinical psychologist at Germany’s University of Hildesheim) concluded in his recent study. He asked one group of people to slouch and another to sit with good posture. Then he showed them a series of positive words (“enjoyable,” “beauty”) and negative words (“exhaustion,” “dejected”). Later, he asked both groups to recall as many of these words as they could. The good posture group was able to recall both positive and negative words. But the slouching group had trouble recalling the positive words. They were, however, able to recall the negative words.
Now granted, it’s only one study. More research needs to be done in this area before any definitive conclusions can be reached. But hunching has been shown to cause back and neck pain, so good posture is definitely a good thing, whether it truly affects our mood or not.
So what do you need to do to have a happy and healthy spine? When you’re sitting, your ears should be over your shoulders, and your shoulders should be over your hips. Then, when you stand up, your hips should be over your knees and ankles. Try to sit and stand this way as frequently as possible. Slouching can become a habit, but with a little conscious effort, it’s a habit that you can break!
Whalen, J. (2014, June 24). Slouch at your own peril. The Wall Street Journal, pp. D1, D2.