ONE OF MY SECRETS REVEALED ON HOW I DEFEATED DEPRESSION
Superman Is No Slouch
What do you picture when you visualize Superman? Can you see the famous pose of him with his chest out and standing solid with his fists on his hips? Do you feel his power and presence in that image? What if he were slouched over with his head hanging? How confident do you think his adversaries would be in defeating him?
Our physiology is directly linked to how we feel. According to a 2016 study that was posted in Health Psychology, sitting up straight can help you cut out negative emotions. In the experiment, 74 participants were randomly assigned to slump or sit upright and then given a reading assignment. Upright participants reported high self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, and lower fear compared to their counterparts.
More than that, the benefits of good posture can affect how stressed out you feel. Sitting up or standing with good posture while you work can help you build resilience to deadlines and to-do lists. The reality is that when you suffer from depression you automatically collapse your body, dropping your head forward, and rounding your shoulders. By practicing good posture and placing your body in a poised upright and balanced position, you invoke feelings of happiness and ease.
A lot of muscle tension and stiffness is a direct result of bad posture. When you sit or stand in a slouched position, it puts all your muscles, bones, and ligaments out of alignment and balance. This causes some muscles to tighten to compensate for others, and it only takes a little bit of time for this to put stress on your body and cause pain. Worse yet, according to the International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation, the longer you sit and stand with bad posture, the further your discomfort grows, and recovery can be slow.
ONE OF THE VALUABLE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM A MOUNTAIN BIKE CRASH
Back in 1999 I fractured my T-12 vertebrae in a mountain biking crash. Living through that character enhancing experience, I learned how much my posture affected my overall wellbeing.
I recently injured my back again and didn’t at all feel like Superman. I was slumping over in pain and felt less than in a peak state. I knew that I needed to take massive action, so I could again achieve a peak state. Here is what I did.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A HARD TIME MAINTAINING A GOOD POSTURE AS A RESULT OF BACK PAIN
According to a study conducted by Georgetown University, some 16 million adults — 8 percent of all adults — experience persistent or chronic back pain, and as a result are limited in certain everyday activities. Being a lifelong athlete and overall active person, I chose not to let back pain control me, I would rule it.
1. Good posture can even help relieve back pain by increasing circulation and oxygen intake by about 30%. That’s because good posture opens your chest cavity, allowing more oxygen to enter your body and brain. Deep breathing and having a good posture have had a dramatic affect in my overall wellbeing.
2. If you struggle with maintaining a good posture, visit your local chiropractor and get an adjustment. Chiropractic treatment has some similarities with physical therapy, and certain conditions may benefit from being treated with both types of therapy. In general, chiropractors are more likely to use hands-on manipulations to relieve your symptoms. Physical therapists tend to put a bigger emphasis on rehabilitating injuries with stretches and exercises.
3. Consider following the McKenzie method, sometimes called mechanical diagnosis and therapy. This method includes a set of guidelines for evaluating someone’s movement as well as exercises designed to improve spinal mobility and posture.
4. Sitting behind your desk all day is bad for your health, and experts have long been advising people to stand at their workstations for 15 to 30 minutes an hour. If you work from a desk, try using a standing desk. This changed my life and it helped me to lose weight as well.
5. Individuals like me with acute and chronic back pain relieve it with the use of an infrared sauna. The radiant heat from the infrared sauna reaches down several inches below the surface of the skin to soothe the muscles. Infrared heat helps open the blood vessels, feeding nutrients to the muscles and ligaments while the warming action also makes muscles and ligaments more pliable and less stiff. Infrared saunas have been clinically proven to reduce low back pain. It has also been shown to be very low risk.
THE BIG TAKEAWAY
I was again reminded of the importance of having a good posture when I injured my back, again. It was so subtle at first that I didn’t realize what was happening to my emotional wellbeing. I am grateful to those close to me that let me know I was not at my best. I did the five things above and feel great again.
Here’s to loving life on purpose.