Could sitting up straight ease depression?

Sitting down
Could it be as simple as sitting up? [Photo: Pexels]

Serious depression is no easy thing to recover from.

But for those dealing with a mild to moderate level of the common mental health condition, doing something as small as changing how you sit could help to alleviate symptoms.

According to researchers, people might feel less tired and more enthusiastic if they simply sit up straight.

The study, which is due to be published next month in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, gathered 61 participants who described themselves as having mild to moderate depression.

They were then split into two groups and told to either sit in their usual position, or sit with straight backs – which involved holding one’s shoulders level and thinking about stretching the tops of their heads towards the ceiling while drawing their shoulder blades together and down.

Next, they were both asked to complete a series of stress-inducing tasks, such as giving a speech or counting backwards from 1,022 in steps of 13 while being monitored by the researchers.

Sitting down
Sitting up makes us feel ‘proud’, apparently [Photo: Pexels]

Interestingly, the group that sat with a good posture had “reduced their fatigue and increased their enthusiasm over a short time period, compared to individuals who sat in their usual posture”, according to co-author of the study Elizabeth Broadent from the University of Auckland.

Broadent explained to The Telegraph that sitting in this position can make one feel “proud”:

“Compared to sitting in a slumped position, sitting upright can make you feel more proud after a success, increase your persistence at an unsolvable task, and make you feel more confident in your thoughts,” she said.

Sitting down
The position involves drawing your shoulder blades together and down [Photo: Pexels]

She continued: “Research also suggests that sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, feel less fearful, and have higher self-esteem after a stressful task.”

Another fascinating thing is that the participants that sat upright spoke more total words during the stressful speech task and reduced how often they used first-person singular pronouns (‘I’ and ‘me’).

“This suggests that they had more energy, had less negative mood, and were less self-focused,” Broadent concluded.

Do you think sitting upright can make you feel more positive? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.

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