Science is on Mum’s side: Slouching is bad for you

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  • Holding a good posture increases our tolerance to physical and emotional pain, research shows.

    You know the one about mothers always being right? Well, there might actually be some scientific truth to it.

    It seems mums were on to something with their ‘sit up straight and stop slouching’ nagging as having a dominant posture decreases sensitivity to pain, new research claims.

    Having a good posture doesn’t just give a good impression- it also raises your pain threshold while slouching makes the body more sensitive to discomfort, a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology shows.

    By simply adopting a more dominant position with a straight back and puffed out chest, people feel more powerful, in control and able to handle more distress, scientists say.

    In the study, 89 people were asked to adopt either a dominant stance, consisting of sitting or standing up straight, or a submissive, slouching position before blood pressure cuffs were put on the volunteers, inflating them until they begun to feel pain.

    The participants were then told to hold a one of three yoga poses for 20 seconds. Those who held strong stances were able to withstand more pain than those who adopted relaxed and hunched positions.

    So standing up straight during a relationship break-up or resisting the urge to curl up in a ball when you feel ill may make physical and psychological pain more bearable, the findings suggest.

    It seems keeping your chin up might really work to manage emotional pain.



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