Hope everyone is doing great today! I am getting ready for a rather busy saturday myself. My grandmother turned 71 today which means some celebrating for that awesome lady. Then I have a client's wedding to attend in the afternoon, which I have yet to purchase a shirt to where as I learned this past week I have out grown any dress shirts I use to wear. I guess that's the detriments to wearing t-shirts and shorts all day everyday, you never realize you need to update your wardrobe (catch my sarcasm?). Oh well at least it is an excuse to spend some money. Anyhow I gots to be getting ready soon, so I wanted to hurry up and throw down this week's study, which is looking at how posture can be affected by our emotional state of mind. I hadn't read any previous research in this area, so I found it really provoking. It also gives other researchers an interesting direction for further study.
Can Sadness Alter Posture?
by do Rosario, Diogenes, Mattei, and Leite
published in Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies
Non-verbal communication is a fundamental part of human interactions. Emotions and feelings of all varieties can be communicated through tone of voice, volume of voice, speed and type of movement, proximity to the other person, and/or posture. Previous research has investigated how sadness is communicated through non-verbal modes, however none have stablished a connection between habitual posture and mood states over time. The researchers wanted to explore this more thoroughly to see if there does exist a correlation between posture and the mood of sadness over a certain time. Specifically the researchers were focusing on whether the exact posture of a person's shoulders correlated to sadness.
To investigate this correlation researchers recruited 28 women all between the ages 20 to 39 years old. All the subjects had normal BMI's. Each subject was photographed while standing side ways to the camera to measure the degree of anterior shoulder protrusion. Room temperature was controlled at 25 degrees celsius to prevent cold from having an effect on the women's posture. The researchers also then used a questionnaire to assess the women's chronic and acute feelings of sadness. Responses to the questionnaire were made along a 10 cm linge in an analogue fashion. The scale used to respond ranged from "no sadness at all" to "utter despair."
Researchers found a clear and significant correlation between measure of chronic sadness and the degree to which the shoulders were anteriorly displaced. But they did not find a correlation between acute sadness and measure of the shoulders anterior displacement.
Researchers concluded that there is a correlation between chronic subjective sadness and shoulder position in women. Researchers proposed two applications for this information. First, it may allow clinicians to assess a patients level of sadness without communicating verbally. Second, it could be useful for correcting poor posture by addressing the psychological issues of the patient.
I think the coolest thing about this study is that provides evidence that the way we feel about ourselves and our lives can either negatively or positively impact our posture. I would love to see more researchers looking at other emotions and other postural measures to see if another positive correlation does exist. It is though worth mentioning that a correlation is not a causation. This study does not in any way tell us whether it is the sadness that causes the poor posture, the poor posture that causes the sadness, or possibly some other factor affecting both variables, but it does raise the theory that perhaps thinking positively and curing chronic sadness can help fix poor posture. Or by fixing bad posture maybe we can feel better and help reduce chronic sadness. Further research needs to be done to look at the mechanism behind this correlation.
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