Posture influences our mood, and negative emotions are associated with a stooped body posture.
Research has examined whether posture impacts emotion regulation and stress resilience.
- Participants were asked to imagine a negative or neutral situation while sitting in a slumped, straight, or self-selected position. People in a stooped posture experienced greater negative moods, and were slower to recover from their negative moods, than those who sat up straight.
- Participants were asked to imagine the death of a close friend. Those who were stooping recovered from their negative mood more slowly than those who sat up straight.
- Participants were randomly assigned to slumped or upright positions. They were given reading and social stress speech tasks, and their mood, self-esteem, and perception of threat were assessed. The upright participants reported higher self-esteem, increased positive mood, and reduced negative mood compared to the stooped participants.
- When people are encouraged to sit up straight and smile, they recall positive autobiographical memories quicker than negative ones.
Takeaway: Good posture is an emotion regulation and stress resilience strategy. Sitting up straight enhances self-esteem, increases positive moods, and helps us recover faster from negative moods.
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Lotte Veenstra, Iris Schneider, and Sander Koole, Embodied Mood Regulation: The Impact of Body Posture on Mood Recovery, Negative Thoughts, and Mood-Congruent Recall. Cogn Emot., 31(7):1361-1376, Nov 2017, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27626675/
Nair S, Sagar M, Sollers J 3rd, Consedine N, Broadbent E., Do Slumped and Upright Postures Affect Stress Responses? A Randomized Trial. Health Psychol., 34(6):632-41, Jun 2015, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25222091/