How we move and hold our bodies says a lot about how we feel both physically and emotionally. Many of these movements become habit over time and rather than just expressing a mood or physical feeling they begin dictating them. Without realizing it we repeat physical patterns hundreds of times a day, imprinting these physical expressions on our emotional selves. What message are we giving ourselves if we are spending the good part of the day hunched over a desk or a table or walking around not completely upright the way we are suppose to. You’re not actively thinking about it, but your body is giving your mind signals. You are closing down and shutting out. In other words, if you have bad posture or a series of poor body alignments, you’re just not going to feel and look your best. Eventually that is going to start expressing itself in lower self esteem or body image which then will effect our lives in a multitude of ways. It’s not just about slumped shoulders but your entire body. By becoming aware of our bodies and working on keeping ourselves moving properly we can greatly improve our mood, body image and health.
Let’s say for example you’ve been working hard and lost 10 pounds. You put on that bathing suit, or whatever it is that you have decided to be your gage of progress, and what you see in the mirror is not even close to what you were expecting. You get discouraged, even depressed. You kick the entire idea of losing weight out the window. The culprit may be how you are holding your body. Take a look again only this time hold your head up, push your shoulders back, engage your core holding yourself tall. Now what do you see? Better right??
Another good exercise is to take a look at those silly before and after pictures for weight loss pills, programs, etc. You know the ones. The “before” picture always shows the individual slumped over, miserable look on their face, hair uncombed, just a mess. Then take a close look at the “after”. The person is standing straight, shoulders back, smiling, hair combed, maybe they have a little tan, a little make up. They may have lost a few pounds, but what is really making the difference is the way they are presenting themselves!!
Even before you start to tackle a weight loss program or transitioning healthier lifestyle I recommend taking a week or two and start to become aware of your body. How do you sit when eating or in a meeting? How do you stand or walk? Are your shoulders rounded, do you feel any pain or ache? When walking, are you in a hurry? If so, why? Pick several times a day and commit to taking a moment to pay attention to your body. At those moments, fix your posture and take a slow breath. It takes seconds and the benefits are well worth it. Beyond the physical benefits of better posture this exercise will help you develop clear weight loss or fitness goals. As you start to become aware of your body your will begin to see what it is you really need to work on and what it is that may simply be the result of poor posture. When you see yourself clearly and develop that self awareness you can better develop your goals from a realistic platform.
Here are some helpful videos for improving posture: