Most people know depression is intimately connected with negative self-talk. When that stream of thoughts coursing through our mind turns negative, our moods follow. We can work hard at managing those thoughts—stopping, changing and reframing them. But studies show that how we sit, stand and walk significantly affects whether that relentless stream of self-talk takes a negative or positive tone. A joint project between York University in Toronto and San Francisco State University in California tested the effect of upright and slouched positions on the thinking of college students. All of the study participants were attending a holistic health class in the university and were kept in the dark about the purpose of the study. During the study they were asked to generate positive and negative thoughts while in slouched and upright postures. Participants then reported on their experience in relation to thought production while scientists monitored their physiological responses throughout the experiment.
The results showed that how we hold ourselves, our posture, greatly affects how our minds operate. It was significantly easier to generate positive thoughts when participants sat upright than when they slouched. At a rate of two to one, participants also said it was easier to think negatively in the slouched position. In fact “When sitting upright and looking upwards, it was difficult and for many almost impossible to recall hopeless, helpless, powerless and negative memories and easier to recall empowering, positive memories.”
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