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It’s seen everywhere–from friends to classmates to everyone’s favorite sitcom, etc. When people are feeling down, they tend to slouch. In fact, it is arguable that slouching is a symptom of depression. So what about the opposite: maintaining good posture? Does it imply that people are in a good mood? Scientists at the University of Auckland conducted a study to find out and achieved some conclusive results.

Maintaining good posture is a struggle for many Americans.

Image Source: PhotoAlto/Matthieu Spohn

The study, which is slated for publication in the March 2017 issue of the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, involved the use of 61 participants who were all screened for and diagnosed with mild depression. The participants were randomly assigned to sit either in their normal position or in an upright position with physiotherapy tape applied to ensure no slouching. The scientists looked for changes in speech patterns as well as signs of fatigue. Then, they were asked to complete a speech task, and the researchers analyzed the spoken words.

The results showed that the group sitting upright with good posture spoke significantly more words than the control group. They were found to be more enthusiastic, displaying less fatigue and overall less anxiety. Therefore, the researchers concluded that sitting up straight can increase the positive effect and decrease self-focus in people with mild depression. The study held implications that good posture can also lead to increased confidence, alertness, and overall, a better mood.

More studies need to be conducted in order to verify the results from this experiment as well as go even further. What if participants weren’t suffering from depression? What if, instead of having mild depression, they were severely depressed? It is common knowledge these days that having good posture is beneficial for mental health in that it eases depression symptoms, but scientists still do not know the extent of this phenomenon. More research needs to be done in order to dive into the intricacies of what works and who the findings apply to.

Feature Image Source: Daniela_oliiver 

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