Bad Posture Affects Your Health and Confidence

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Your posture is more than just about the way you look and carry yourself. It also has a huge impact on your health, as well as how confident you feel facing people and even applying for jobs. So are you a slumper? Are you hunched over your screen right now? In a couple of minutes, you’ll start to feel pain in your lower back. That will last for hours. You are not alone.

In the United States, poor posture is a major culprit in back problems. It affects more than 80% of Americans at some point in their lives. Many people—especially younger ones—don’t even think about their posture. But that’s the kind of thinking that can get you into trouble in the future. When you’re old and gray, you’ll be thankful you took the time to correct your posture when you still can.

Bad Posture and Physical Health

Do you know why? Back problems don’t always start big. At first, you’ll feel numbness on one side of your body. Your lower back will be sore all the time. People will notice that you’re walking a little wobbly. You won’t even lose sleep over your posture until the time a doctor said you need scoliosis treatment. That’s the first sign that your bad posture led to a health problem.

In general, bad posture doesn’t always lead to scoliosis. The more popular type of scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis, which comes from genetic factors. A bad posture that leads to scoliosis is called postural scoliosis. It is reversible and can be treated through various kinds of therapies.

Bad posture can create a curvature of the spine, which affects the nerve supply to your brain. This then limits your brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of your body. What does this mean for your health? Indirectly, slouching can cause migraines, tension headaches, shoulder and neck pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, stress, constipation and gastrointestinal pain, and even sleep problems and insomnia.

woman having neck and lower back pain

Posture, Body Image, and Self-confidence

How important is posture to your mental health and sense of well-being? In the 14th century, Japanese zen master Daichi Sokei emphasized the importance of proper seating. He said that the right posture during sitting meditation helps connect the mind and body. Sitting meditation is the process of clearing one’s mind while seated like a lotus blossom (legs crossed with each foot resting on the opposite thigh) with a straight back and relaxed shoulders. As you well know, meditation gives people a boost of self-confidence and self-esteem. It is also necessary for good posture.

As kids, you heard your parents tell you to straighten your back to give a good impression on other people. You grew up thinking that you need to have good posture to impress other people. But good posture also has a profound effect on how you see yourself. If you sit up straight, it is easier to regard yourself highly.

An experiment proved this. The research asked two groups of students to slouch and sit up straight while answering some questions about themselves. The results are telling of the impact of bad and good posture on people’s self-confidence and self-esteem.

People who sit in an upright position tend to write positive things about themselves. Those in the slouched position are more negative in their feelings. When interviewed, both groups didn’t report feeling confident while answering the questions, but the results in their written thoughts say otherwise. This means that although they don’t realize what’s happening, posture affects their thoughts. People with good posture tend to think more positive thoughts.

Never Mind Science

Put science aside. Your posture has something to do about how you present yourself. It also affects how others see you. More than anything else, if you feel confident about the way you look, others will see that in you, too. During a job interview, the hiring manager may look at you as less confident of your skills when you are slouching on your chair. While they don’t mean it, they would have judged you in their minds as less capable. As a result, you will lose the opportunity to get hired for a job that you are capable of.

So even before you start to encounter problems with your health because of your posture, address it as soon as possible. You surely don’t want to spend your retirement days in pain because you did not mind your posture when you were younger. If you have a bad posture now, start working with your doctor and therapist about the right programs that can help correct it.

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