How to Pull Out of a Slump - Literally
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I invite you to try this right
now: Sit in a chair with your legs crossed or close together, bring
your elbows into your waist, clasp your hands together and place them
on your lap, then round your shoulders and drop your head. Now say, “I
am confident and powerful.”
Well . . . you don’t look it.
Closed postures reflect low
power. In that slumped posture – regardless of anything you said --
most people would judge you as submissive and powerless. Just as
importantly, in that position you would begin to actually feel less
confident and sure of yourself.
An Ohio State University study
found that people who were slumped over their desks were less likely to
believe the positive comments they wrote about their qualifications for
a job. Those who sat up straight were more likely to accept their own
statements as valid.
Blame it on “embodied
cognition,” the idea that the mind is not only connected to the body
but that the body influences the mind.
The science behind this has been
documented in various studies including that at Harvard and Columbia
Business Schools in which researchers looked at the physical and
emotional effects of holding both high and low power poses.
High power posers (like the
“Superman” or “Wonder Woman” posture with legs apart, shoulders back,
and hands on hips) not only looked more powerful, they felt it – the
result of higher levels of testosterone, the power and dominance
hormone, and lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Low power posers, on the other
hand, experienced significant drops in testosterone
and increases in cortisol – which left them looking
and feeling less powerful and more vulnerable.
Slumping may even make you feel
depressed. A study at Queens University in which subjected walked on a
treadmill found that those who were encouraged to walk with a more
slumped body posture remembered more negative words on a follow-up
test. Those who walked with an upright posture recalled more positive
words. To the researchers, this was evidence that assuming a “happier”
posture helped create happier people.
agrees with findings from earlier research at Ohio State University
that assessed how posture affected an individual's ability to generate
positive and negative thoughts. Sitting up straight, participants found
it easier to conjure up positive thoughts and memories.
Posture also affects energy
level and productivity. Ninety-five computer users employed at a
municipal utility provider volunteered to be evaluated in the
workplace. A functional assessment of posture, lung function and
strength was performed wearing a PostureShirt – a form-fitting garment
from Alignmed with controlled stretch neuro-bands that gently pull the
shoulders back, and which in turn, enhances alignment of the spine and
improves forward head and shoulder posture.
The results were impressive.
Postural fatigue and muscular fatigue decreased by 21% and 29%,
respectively, and energy level and productivity increased by 20% and
When workers are fatigued they
not only make mistakes and deplete energy, they are more susceptible to
certain kinds of injuries. Organizations concerned with wellness (and
rising worker’s compensation costs) are taking notice -- ordering
ergonomic chairs, offering Yoga and other exercise classes, and
investing in sensory devices that tell workers when their posture
starts to sag. And when Bill Shultz (the president of Alignmed) spoke
at a recent worker's compensation conference, the audience was
interested to hear about the PostureShirt -- a simple solution to
workplace fatigue and productivity that also addresses some of the
workplace injuries that can be controlled.
If you spend the day slumped
over a keyboard, your body starts to tell your mind that you are less –
less powerful, less positive, less productive. So pulling yourself out
of that slump by sitting up straight and standing tall can improve your
energy, you mood, and even your health.
About the Author
Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. is an
international speaker, leadership blogger for Forbes, and the author of
"The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - or Hurt -
How You Lead.”. Carol
is a Keynote speakes on collaborative leadership and the
impact of body language in the workplace. Communications coach to
executives to improve their leadership presence and effectiveness.
You can reach Carol at on email:
Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com, by phone: 510-526-1727, or through her
website: www.CarolKinseyGoman.com. Authors Google+
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-11-14 09:00:13 in Personal Articles