How do your emotions affect your posture?

fix your posture Jun 24, 2022
Sofiya Dance & Movement
How do your emotions affect your posture?

Today's topic is going to be very practical - understanding how you can unconsciously affect your posture. 

From my experience, slouching posture is often initially caused by emotions rather than an actual physical reason.

It is in the center of the science of body language that the way we feel directly affects our body response. 

Similarly, the way we think and feel changes the way we move our body or position ourselves in space. For example, if we feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable or insecure, we tend to close in and slouch. In contrast, if we feel happy and excited, we tend to open out and take space. 


I will give you two examples of real cases in my work with clients, who had to first change their thinking and emotions before managing to make a difference in their posture. While you read, try to notice - can you relate to any of this?


  1. The challenge of being tall

A beautiful tall girl entered my studio. She was maybe 10-15 cm above most other girls, and despite being so tall she still looked small. Her posture was very slouched, although being generally a sports lover. She looked shy and insecure. 

We attempted to improve her posture but kept getting stuck, so we sat for a talk. It turned out that when she was a child, she was often bullied in school for being too tall. In order to "fit in" she started slouching and appearing shorter than she actually was. This made a connection in her mind that being tall is bad and being short is preferred by society, so she unconsciously kept the slouching posture to be able to protect herself from being emotionally hurt by society. 

It took her some time to really understand that this was the actual cause of her posture or discomfort. 

But this was our big break! Once she started working on improving her confidence and enjoying talking space and being tall, she slowly recovered her posture and looked much more secure in her body than before.


2. The heaviness of parenthood

Having a child can be exhausting both for the mother and father. I will give you an example of how all the stress from "managing it all" completely ruined the posture of a young mother. 

A friend of mine had a baby. She is a very strong and determined woman and wants to do everything. She was raising her little child, working full time, cooking the best food for her newborn and trying to keep the house in a good condition ALL at the same time! She was determined that all of these are her priorities and she has to complete everything. And I have to give it to her -  she did manage everything! 

However, a few years later she got a big hunchback on her upper back - something a young woman should not have. This was because she felt crushed and overwhelmed by the huge amount of responsibilities she had. She felt crushed, so she looked crushed (she had shortened with a good 5 cm by then). 

She came to me to find exercises that she can do to improve the situation, but we did not see a change. It was coming from her thoughts and feelings first and before changing those, we could not change her habits and thus, improve her posture. 

She did not only feel overwhelmed. She did not like herself, was not confident, and had no energy at all to make a change. She was just not ready to deal with it on an emotional level yet. So I asked her to come back to me when she was ready. 

And she did… two years later she came, determined that she wanted to change her life and she did! We are still working on completely getting rid of the hunchback, but she has improved so much and I am certain she will manage it! 


So, the question for you remains - what are your most common emotions and how do they affect your posture? 


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