Most of us have heard that sitting too much can kill you, mainly because it can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions due to lack of movement. It also turns out that spending your day hunched over a computer will have ramifications on your mental health as well. Poor posture will not only lead you to a lousy mood, but it can also make you feel more stressed and depressed.


As a society, we normally lean forward; we slouch over our desks all day, we drive in a forward position, lean forward, and most likely spend a lot of time craning our necks over smartphones. A number of studies have suggested that poor posture can exacerbate the symptoms of many disorders. Even if you feel you have good mental health and are happy and healthy, you can still increase your overall mental health by standing and sitting up straighter.


Here are three benefits to improving your posture and emotional health and how do to it.


  1. You will feel more energy and happiness. Over time, a slumped forward posture can create unnecessary stress and strain on your spine. Not only will it make you feel heavy and achy, but it will lead you to increased tiredness and irritability. Research has actually verified that there is a connection between poor posture and fatigue, especially in people who have depression. The Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that  people who suffered from mild to moderate depression actually felt better and more alert after changing their sitting posture and also reported a decrease in anxiety. Another study in Biofeedback reported that people who slouch when walking are more likely to struggle with depression, and when they changed their posture, they gained an increase in energy and a happier outlook on life.


  1. Your confidence will go up. When you go to a job interview or on a first date, you want to project a confident persona. Good posture will exude confidence and an affable demeanor. For example, a sullen teenager who has a slouchy posture instantly conveys apathy. Not only will maintaining good posture make you look confident, but research actually shows that you will feel better about yourself. A study in Health Psychology found that people were able to kick themselves out of a bad mood and even give themselves a self-esteem boost simply by sitting upright. Sitting upright also helped people with depression have a better body image.


  1. You will not be as guarded. Slumping forward simply shows that you are guarding yourself. The posture may say to others that you aren’t open to new relationships or even new ideas. It can even portray that you are trying to hide something and can’t be trusted. Most of our communication is non-verbal. Slouched posture often indicates that there is something that the person is not willing to talk about or tell you. There is so much to be said about a person who stands up tall, pulls their shoulders back, and portrays that they are ready for the day.


Want to perfect your posture? You will need to pay attention to how you are sitting and standing throughout the day. You need to really focus on engaging your core as much as possible. If you sit at a desk for the majority of your day, really focus on keeping your computer, keyboard, and chair ergonomically adjusted. Try getting up about every 45 minutes to increase your circulation and also reposition your spine. You can also try doing some simple moves to strengthen the muscles that help improve your posture. Try pulling your arms back so you can pinch your shoulder blades whenever you feel that you need to reposition yourself. You can also try doing 5-10 press ups every hour or two. This will promote a gentle stretch in your lower spine. Alternatively, you can perform any exercise that will improve mobility in your hips and stability in your shoulder girdle. Planks, back extension, and squats against a wall are all exercises that can help. You can also try things like meditation and mindfulness. Any of these practices will help you center yourself, and good posture is just a piece of that.