Your teachers, parents, and grandparents were right to caution you when you were young! They cautioned you NOT to do this behavior and now science has proven them correct. It wasn’t about eating or sleeping, which may be what you’re guessing. It’s SLOUCHING. Turns out slouching is bad for your brain and your posture has some really negative effects on your brain health!
When they told you to “sit up straight, don’t slouch” or “stand straight” you should have been listening. Slouching causes so many ill-effects, it’s mind boggling.
Through studies it’s been determined that slouching causes:
- reduction in happiness
- worse moods
- poorer cognition
- reduced recall ability
- lower self-esteem
- more fear
- increased stress hormone cortisol
- decrease in testosterone
- head, neck, and shoulder pain
Slouching also reduces:
-contributes to poor blood flow to the back of the brain
Wow, that’s a lot of negative influences on us from just one behavioral pattern!
Theses Studies Show the Negative Effects of Slouching on Brain Health
In 2004, Eric Pepper, Professor of Holistic Health Studies in the Department of Health Education at San Francisco State University, along with some other researchers, conducted, and then published, a study on the effects of positive thinking when slouching or sitting straight. Both men and women were part of the study.
Almost all of the participants reported that it was easier to recall positive feelings when sitting erect.
Studies also show that recalling ANY thoughts, whether positive or negative, take more effort when slouching.
Study after study reports that upright participants have higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, and lower fear when assuming an upright posture.
One study conducted by Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy is called the “Huge Two Minute Hormone Change”. This study found that after just two minutes of sitting in an upright position there was a 20% increase in testosterone and a 24% decrease in cortisol.
Mental math tests proved to be much more difficult when slouching than when sitting up straight. Maintaining a defensive posture can trigger old negative memories both in your body and brain.
Studies show that posture makes a giant difference. The slumped posture shuts people down and their brains do not work as well. When slouching people can’t think as clearly.
You do have a choice. You don’t have to slouch! It’s about using an empowered position to optimize your brain health and function and thereby optimizing your focus.
Maybe you thought good posture simply made you look better and was better for your back. After learning all this though about the negative effects of slouching on your brain and the bad effects of poor posture on brain health, I hope you’ll become more conscious of your posture. I know I surely will. It certainly seems worth the effort.
If you feel stuck and need additional support to adopt a new healthy habit or routine, consider working with me. We can partner up in setting goals, drawing on your skills and strengths, and implementing strategies to help you find your way to lasting healthy success.
For over 15 years, Shelli has been a freelance writer and wellness coach on Joyinmovement. She writes about brain fitness, creating a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world, and making positive habits stick. Stop procrastinating! Take action, join her free newsletter.