How to Improve Your Posture And Mental Health

Mental Health, Physical Health
08/11/20 - Brent Wells

Many people think that poor posture only causes back pain, but it can affect many other areas well. One that might surprise people is that poor posture could hurt your mental health. Below you’ll find more information about why this is and some ways you can improve your posture to prevent it. 

What Causes Poor Posture?

Poor posture can be caused by a handful of different things. Most of the time, it’s the result of prolonged sitting, especially if you need to do so for hours for your work. Poor posture can also be the result of incorrect desk chairs that don’t support your spine. 

Side Effects of Poor Posture

Incorrect posture can cause numerous side effects. Some of these include:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Frequent body aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Your head leaning forward or backward
A man putting pressure with fingers on another's back

Does Your Posture Affect Your Mental Health?

You might be interested to learn that poor posture not only causes pain, but can affect your mental health. Because you’re putting extra strain on your spine, it can make your back muscles contract. This can stress them and cause your body’s cortisol levels to soar. 

5 Ways to Improve Your Posture 

Wear Supportive Shoes

One way to improve your posture is to wear the correct shoes. Many people don’t realize that if their shoes don’t support their feet, it can cause slouching and back pain. This can be especially harmful if you need to move around a lot for your career. Because of this, it’s important to make sure your shoes will keep your spine aligned and encourage you to use correct posture. 

Use Lumbar Support

If you sit at a desk all day, your spine will take a beating, especially if your chair doesn’t support you very well. Lumbar support is designed to add extra padding to where your back meets the chair. This helps your spine to keep its natural curvature. Most of the time lumbar support can be found on the lower portion of the desk chair. 

To tell if the chair’s lumbar support will work for you it’s best to test it out. After sitting in the chair, make sure that it encourages your shoulders and spine to be straight. It should also keep your feet flat on the ground. 

If you’re unable to find a desk chair that features lumbar support, you can opt for a lumbar cushion. This item is made out of memory foam and can be placed behind your back to give support and comfort. There are also a few that you can sit on to help keep your spine aligned. 

Get Regular Chiropractic Adjustments

Another way to help improve your posture is to get regular chiropractic adjustments. Not only will they help to keep your spine free from pain and poor alignment, but they can boost your mental health. As a chiropractor adjusts your body, it will release endorphins and serotonin – two hormones that can make you feel more positive and free of pain. 

To help improve your posture, a chiropractor will use various types of spinal manipulations. They will feel up and down your spine to find areas of tension and inflammation. If they find any issues, they will press on that specific area and twist your body in certain ways to help relieve it. 

Some of the most commonly used chiropractic adjustments for spinal issues are the direct thrust technique, cervical spine manipulation, and myofascial release. 

Some might be a little hesitant to try chiropractic care because they feel that it will be too expensive. So, how much is a chiropractor’s price? Most of the time your visits will be covered by insurance. If not, sessions tend to be around $65


A woman doing yoga on a waterfront

Stretching can also be very beneficial when it comes to improving your posture. Stretching can also boost your mental health. As you stretch, your body will release massive amounts of endorphins. These feel-good hormones work to block pain receptors in your brain. This not only will give you more energy, but can significantly improve your mood. 

High Plank

This stretch works to strengthen your back muscles as well as those in your shoulders and abdomen. To do the high plank stretch, get on on all fours on the floor. Then, put one foot straight behind you and then the other. Try to keep your stomach muscles tight when doing so. Move your palms so they align with your shoulders. Hold the position for about 30 seconds. Make sure to do slow breathing during this stretch to prevent overwhelming your body. Once the 30 seconds has passed, go back to all fours. You should repeat this stretch about three times. 

Downward Dog

Downward dog is a popular yoga stretch that keeps your hips aligned. To do it, get down on the floor on all fours and then lift your hips high into the air. Slowly move your ankles back behind you so that your body is in a v-shape. Keep your head lowered and try to stretch your neck. Take about three deep breaths and then return to the original position. 

Shoulder Rolls

One easy stretch to do to improve your posture is shoulder rolls. To do this stretch, stand straight and move your shoulders up toward your ears. Then, gently roll them back. As you roll them, press your shoulder blades as close together as you can. Repeat this stretch about 10 times. 

Spine Stretch

To do the spine stretch, sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. While keeping your back straight, lift your arms up and use them to bend your body forward. You should feel a slight pull in your back when doing so. Once you feel this pull, hold it, and then return to the original position. 

Take Breaks From Sitting

An important thing to do to help keep your spine healthy is to take breaks from sitting. If you sit for too long, it can create pressure on your lower spinal vertebrae. To help stop discomfort caused by this, you’ll probably try to move your body in ways to relieve it. This can lead to improper posture. 

To give your spine a break, get up every hour or so from sitting and just move your body. This can be walking in place or even doing gentle stretches. 

A man working on two monitors on a working table

Poor posture doesn’t only hurt your spine, but can have drastic effects on your mental health. By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure that you use proper posture while working to keep your body free from pain and to improve your mood.

Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells founded Alaska’s Better Health Chiropractic Clinic in 1998. He has a deep interest in physical rehabilitation and neurology and is constantly incorporating the latest technology into chiropractic treatments. Dr. Wells belongs to both the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.

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