Sit up! It really will make you happier: Good posture improves your mood, increases concentration and can lower blood pressure, scientists say
- German researchers assessed the posture of 82 students in their 20s
- Participants were told the study was assessing their concentration, not posture
- Scientists changed the settings on chair changing the posture of the students
- Those who sat upright showed higher levels of concentration than the others
Did your parents or teachers ever tell you to ‘sit up straight’ or ‘stop slouching’? It seems they might have had a point.
Scientists have shown that a good posture improves your mood, increases concentration and can lower blood pressure.
The findings come from a study of 82 students in their 20s, who were asked to undertake a series of tests while sitting in different positions. They were not told that the study was observing their posture, but instead thought it was assessing their concentration.
Scientists have shown that a good posture improves your mood, increases concentration and can lower blood pressure
The researchers managed to manipulate the students into either sitting upright or slouching by changing the height of their desk and chair, picture posed by model
Researchers managed to manipulate the students into either sitting upright or slouching by changing the height of their desk and chair.
Those sitting straight rated their general mood at an average of 3.77 out of five, compared with 3.43 for those who were slouching. And the participants with good posture got through more of the test than those who slouched.
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It follows previous research which found that people who sit upright when they receive positive feedback feel more pride than those who receive the news slouched. Other studies have linked high confidence with good posture.
The new research was conducted at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany and published in the journal Acta Psychologica.
One of its authors, Sarah Awad, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Sitting upright is linked to a lower blood pressure, slower heart rate and lower temperature.
‘Slumped postures may signal to someone that they are in a potentially threatening situation and need to adopt a protective posture, and hence they experience negative mood. On the other hand, sitting upright communicates to the person that they are in an unthreatening situation.’
She added that the idea of ‘body feedback’ dates from the 19th Century, ‘when it was suggested that our feelings are rooted in our physical actions – we do not smile because we are happy, but we are happy because we smile’.
Last year, Elizabeth Broadbent, of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, came to similar conclusions. She said: ‘When people walk with their head tilted down, looking down, and keeping the arms static, it can negatively affect how you feel.
‘In contrast, walking with the head level, looking straight ahead, and swinging your arms has a more positive outcome for mood.’