Want to Improve your Mood? Fix your Posture!

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A new study out of San Francisco State University suggests that slouching and slumping can put a damper on your mood and drain your energy levels.

“Putting yourself in a ‘collapsed’ body position will evoke in you a depressed feeling—this is especially true with people who have a history of depression,”

says Erik Peper, PhD, study author and Professor of Holistic Health at San Francisco State University.

Peper and his team of researchers asked 110 university students to rate their energy and depression levels. Then they divided the students into two groups: One group went into the hallway and walked in a slouched position, while the other group skipped down the hallway. Both groups then rated their energy levels once again. Next, the group that skipped the first time was asked to walk in a slouched position, and vice versa. After two or three minutes, both groups again rated their energy levels.

All participants reported that skipping, which involves standing tall and looking up, made them feel happier and more energized.

In addition, participants in the study with the highest levels of depression not only started off with lower energy (based on their self-rating), but also reported significantly lower energy levels after the slouched walking than those that weren’t depressed.

“Every thought has a corresponding body activity,” Peper says. “And every change in your body will change your thoughts and feelings.”

When you slump or “collapse,” you’re more likely to experience negative feelings. And when you feel bad, you want to make yourself look small, says Peper. On the other hand, when you move in a positive way, like skipping, you experience a boost in energy levels and positive emotions, according to the study.

Read the complete article published October 5, 2012 in the journal Biofeedback.

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