In the mindfulness world, there’s a big emphasis on how we use our minds to influence our wellbeing. Because of this, we sometimes neglect the role of the body and how it can be used to influence our wellbeing.
One way to observe this is by noticing your posture throughout your day and how it impacts your mood. Amy Cuddy, a scientist at Harvard, has a growing body of research that suggests our mood can be impacted by our posture.
For instance, if you’ve ever seen Usain Bolt win a race, his arms are up, chest open, head back. It’s a very expansive posture that happens at a time of great elation, confidence and excitement. This is also the same posture that a blind person will take after a victory, having never seen someone do this posture, suggesting that it’s an innate programming rather than a cultural conditioning.
Conversely, someone who is defensive, depressed, or nervous will often have their arms crossed, head down, and body shrunken in.
These body postures are so deeply conditioned with certain emotional states that even if we don’t feel those states, we can induce them by shifting our posture. So as you go throughout your day today, pay attention to your particular body posture conditionings. Play around with keeping your shoulders back, chest open, and periodically try putting your hands behind your head as if you were stretching. Try this ESPECIALLY when you’re feeling down or nervous.
The mind and body are much more related than we think.