Your posture can speak volumes about your character, or the way you feel at any given moment. Someone whos shoulders are rounded, upper back slouched and keep their eyes lowered tend to come across as sad, depressed, or have low status. Whereas someone who keeps their head held high, relaxed shoulders, and good eye contact will convey the opposite: positive, relaxed, trustworthy, and a higher status.
Of course, this perception may not be entirely accurate, but people in general judge others based upon first appearances. And if you think about it, the body naturally displays these types of posture depending on the mood. Next time youre feeling depressed or sad, observe your posture. Sometimes you dont even realize how the body has become slightly hunched over. And again, the opposite where you are in a really positive, happy state of mind — youll notice that you feel as if youre walking on air — back straight, chin up and shoulders back.
The following information will enable you to always hold yourself in a nice posture.
Hunched shoulders usually stay that way because of tightness in the chest muscles, which pull the shoulders forward. This means that even if you try to hold your shoulders back, after about 20 minutes the muscles will be too fatigued to continue doing so.
The best way forward is to work on stretching the chest muscles at regular intervals throughout the day. To do this you could try clasping your hands behind your head, and pushing your elbows as far back as possible. Hold this position for over 20 seconds. Another way is to hold onto the side of a door frame with one hand, then twist the body away from the door frame and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on both sides.
Its also good to strengthen the back muscles between the shoulder blades. This will balance the muscles properly so there is less tightness in the chest, and more strength in the upper back. Good exercises for this are bent over barbell row, dumbbell rows or flyes. Of course, please consult a health professional before trying these exercises.
Many people nowadays suffer with forward head due to working in office jobs or hunched over a desk many hours a day. This can be changed by carefully performing certain stretches or exercises. The neck can be prone to injury, so please be careful.
The first exercise is to clasp your hands behind the back of the head with the elbows up (like some people do when they relax). In this position, push your head backwards, while giving resistance with the hands. Hold this position for a few seconds, release, and repeat 7 times. Do this at least once or twice a day. It also helps to loosen the neck muscles by stretching. Keep the chin in, and tilt your head to one side. Pull your head lightly with the hand in the same direction until you feel the stretch. Hold this for 20 seconds and repeat for the other side.
Strong Eye Contact
If you dont have good eye contact, especially during conversation, you could come across as shifty or untrustworthy. Its good to maintain eye contact at least 70-80% of the time while youre talking or (especially) listening. More than this though will be too intense for the other person. Its good to look break the gaze once in a while.
Sometimes it can be intimidating to the listener to keep eye contact. One way around this is to focus on the bridge of the nose of the other person. It will still seem like you have good eye contact, but you wont be looking directly into their eyes.
Changing your posture can have benefits other than how you are perceived by others. It can even change the way you feel. Not many people realize this, but you can actually change your mood and behavior by assuming the right posture. You can prove this by trying to think in a negative way, while at the same time, walking proud with a big smile on your face. Youll probably find this difficult!
One way of ensuring good posture at all times is to imagine a ribbon or beam of light attached to the top of your skull, coming from the sky or ceiling, slightly pulling. This changes your body position so you begin to walk tall without forcing it.
Featured Image by Christoph By – Flickr.com . Creative Commons 2.0