Good posture is associated with higher self-esteem, less social fear and fewer negative emotions. Slumped individuals reportedly feel more fearful, hostile, nervous, quiet, still, passive, dull, sleepy, and sluggish*. Individuals with bad posture result in negative processing of emotions surrounding a topic**.
Bad posture can affect your ability to breathe deeply. As you slouch, you’re compressing your lungs, thereby, reducing their capacity by up to 30%. Our breath and anxiety are strongly associated. Studies show that participants were able to reframe stressful memories much more easily when in an upright posture compared to a slouched posture and reported a significant reduction in negative thoughts and anxiety*.
Additionally, when you stand up straight with good posture, you will experience a decrease in cortisol, which is a hormone associated with stress. As stress and anxiety are positively correlated, reducing stress can reduce anxiety levels.
*Erik Peper, Richard Harvey, and Daniel Hamiel. (2019). Transforming Thoughts with Postural Awareness to Increase Therapeutic and Teaching Efficacy.
**Michalak, J., Mischnat, J., & Teismann, T. (2014). Sitting posture makes a difference — embodiment effects on depressive memory bias. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 21 (6), 519 –524.