Let’s talk a little about posture and body language.
It’s the static aspect of body language and it refers to the way we stand and hold ourselves. It’s important to think about it and adjust your posture because even if you’re not aware of it, people may judge you by the way you hold yourself. For example people with hunched shoulders look less decisive, passive and lazier than people who hold themselves straight.
While it’s not expressive as face expressions or hand gestures, it can show the intensity of these expressions. If you lean forward, for example, you can amplify the message that you’re listening closely and interested in what’s being said, leaning back gets the opposite result naturally.
Let’s start with why you should maintain a straight posture in body language.
Keeping Straight Posture
When I was little, I sometimes used to sit on the floor leaning forward in front of the TV. My mother was always coming and straightening my back, warning me that “if you sit that way – you will become Quasimodo“.
Fortunately I didn’t become Quasimodo and I definitely learned the value of good posture. Holding yourself straight and relaxed is beneficial for your health as it lets blood flow fluently without interruption throughout your body.
Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid the hunched back, slumped shoulders posture unless you want to be percieved as poor, lazy or sad. Sometimes when I walk the street I see elderly people who carry themselves with such poor posture that it seems almost impossible to walk that way. It often reflects poor self image and negative feelings, accumulated by the years.
I want to clarify tough that I know many older people suffer from different health conditions that won’t allow them to stand straight, especially when the body condition deteriorate with aging. So in those situations not much can be done. However many of these problems can be averted by adopting healthier posture in earlier age.
So what is the correct posture? Easy:
- Head held high in neutral position with the ears in line with the shoulder line.
- Shoulders resting down
- Open your chest and breath deep into your abdomen. Don’t puff your chest up like a macho either.
- Stand on both feet, distributing your body weight evenly.
It’s important not to overextend the curve of your back, and tense it. It should feel easy and natural, not tense and awkward. For more information about straight posture and body language check here.
This position not only makes you look more confident and alert, but it also has mood-boosting and energizing effects that will help you when interacting with others. People tend to see those who can hold their body in this way as active and sure of themselves, which is always beneficial in social situations.
But it’s Hard Staying That Way All the Time!
Just like everything else, our posture is a result of habit. So, it will take some time to change it, but if you’re dedicated to improving your posture, you will ultimately be successful. You might not see results immediately, but adopt a straight posture the next time you catch yourself slumping, and after a few moments, you should start to feel better.
I know that if you’re working a lot in front of the computer you tend to hunch (believe me, I do..) but a good way to release that tension is taking a little break of walking around and circling your shoulders. Take a break, you don’t need to be everything to everyone.
So, if you’re known as a hunchback, it’s time to give up that posture Quasimodo… (:
You owe it to yourself – be more healthy and project a stronger and energetic image.