Use Your Body-Mind Connection
When you’re feeling self-confident and assertive, there’s an automatic uplift to your chest, spine and neck—your posture automatically organizes itself for the better. But no one feels terrific all the time, right? By teaching yourself the physical sensations that correspond to a good mood, you can use your body-mind connectivity to good advantage. Body awareness helps you cultivate positive outlooks in humdrum situations.
What to sit on
At work, you do this by sitting in a way that supports an open chest and lifted spine. Both depend on your having a broad base of support that includes your pelvis and legs. If, conversely, your pelvis folds back so you’re sitting on your buttocks, your spine will end up in a “C” curve. With such a poor base of support, it’s impossible for your torso to be upright without effort.
Instead, sit so that your weight falls just in front of the sit bones, not directly over them as advised by most experts. You should feel as though your weight rests more on your upper thighs than on your buttocks. This gives you a larger base of support such that 40% of your body’s weight is being born by your legs and feet. This also contributes the sense of being grounded. Your spine automatically rises and when it does, your shoulder blades can slide down along your back.
Take a moment to look around and notice how your surroundings appear to you from this vantage point. The physical surroundings, but also your mental interpretation of the context in which you find yourself. If you let it, having better grounding and support can make you feel more confident, better able to cope, and more optimistic.
How you distribute your body's weight between the chair and the ground is much more important than what kind of chair you sit on. You can be poorly supported by your body while sitting in the most expensive and ergonomically savvy chair on the planet.
Sitting and Breathing
Because well supported sitting makes it easier to breathe efficiently, you get better oxygen delivery to your brain, keeping you alert and on top of your workflow. When you sit in a slouched posture it’s harder to breathe (try it!), and hence everything else you do requires more effort. Not only that, but when you slouch, there’s a tendency to breathe in to the upper chest. Doing this activates your body’s stress responses: adrenaline and other chemicals pour into your bloodstream, your blood pressure rises, muscles tense, and feelings of anxiety often arise. So how you sit can either exacerbate or alleviate the stress in your life.
I wrote the above in response to a magazine’s request for a piece about sitting at work. Sitting is actually a much bigger topic. For more about it, see Chapter Three of The New Rules of Posture, and Lesson One of my DVD workshop, Heal Your Posture.
© 2016 Mary Bond