By no means am I an expert on this topic, but half of the sales agents we train have problems related to their posture. So, I did some research and this is my best effort to provide simple and actionable advice on how you can improve your posture.
I've improved my posture (significantly) using the techniques outlined in the post. Particularly, reversing my forward head posture and I've pretty much eliminate neck pain as a result.
From my perspective, the two most common sources of postural issues and pain are chronic sitting and looking down at a mobile phone or laptop. The third, is stress. A hunched-over posture is bad for your health, it’s also a fear posture that projects a lack of confidence in-person and on-camera. Stress creates tension which affects your posture.
In this article, you will learn about the three common sources of bad posture. You will also learn how to improve the quality and longevity of your health, and how to reduce the likelihood you’ll develop chronic debilitating pain.
The implications of bad posture are serious business.
“Lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide,” accordingly to the Global Burden of Disease. Plus, back pain is one of the most common reasons stated for missed days of work.
Almost everyone will experience back pain at some point in their life, whether you have good posture or not. Those with good posture, however, substantially reduce their risk of developing chronic back pain, and improve their quality of life across the board.
Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido and author of The Art of Peace, said the following, “A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.” This is a profound statement implying that the mind mirrors the body and the body mirrors the mind. I wholeheartedly agree! The body and mind are irrefutably connected in two-way communication. The psychologist Carl Yung illustrates this beautifully in his Rider and Elephant analogy. The rider being the mind. The elephant being the sometimes non-compliant body.
Books like “What Everybody is Saying: An FBI Agents Guide to Reading People and Gathering Non-Verbal Intelligence,” by Joe Navarro, a 25-year veteran of the FBI, offer a window into how much our posture reveals about our state of mind (see the photos below).
At this point, it's plain to see the role posture plays in our lives is significant.
Take a look at the two photos below:
They’re both me, but they are very different versions of me. The only difference between the two photos is my posture. In the photo on the left, I feel it’s safe to say, I look weak and disinterested. In the photo on the right, I look confident and attentive.
Sources ranging from the esteemed Mayo Clinic to the ce-web-rity Dr. Mercola have published a flood of studies about the dangers of chronic sitting to your health and well-being.
In fact, an article on a Harvard Medical School site, Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter, says that “Too much sitting is linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature death.”
If your job requires long hours sitting at a desk, there are solutions to minimize the dangers.
"Looking at a tablet for long periods of time affects your neck, head, and shoulders. The farther down it is, the more you have to bend your neck to get down to it," says Dr. Jack Dennerlein, principal investigator and adjunct professor of ergonomics and safety at the Harvard School of Public Health. In one study they conclude, “Your neck angle makes all the difference.”
Stress creates tension. If not managed properly, it is like a weed that persistently regenerates. I feel that unresolved stress lingers and is the primary cause of disease.
The tension created by stress also destroys your posture.
In an article on WebMD, R. Morgan Griffin reviewed for accuracy by Joseph Goldberg, MD says, “Studies have found many health problems related to stress. Stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.”
Science Daily, in reprinted materials from Carnegie Mellon University, says “Stress wreaks havoc on the mind and body. For example, psychological stress is associated with greater risk for depression, heart disease and infectious diseases.”
Posture reflects our state of mind. So if you’ve been slouching chronically, it’s important to realize your posture isn’t going to fix itself overnight. It will take time and perseverance.
In the beginning you will be recalibrating your posture, and therefore, your understanding of “the norm.” This is especially important, before you create a video. Gradually, your body and mind will realign, the tension will release, and your posture will improve.
Recalibrating your posture is a simple way to project a cool, calm, and confident image—and it’s a surefire way to consistently improve your posture over time.
Tip: Let go of the desire to hold your body in the right position. This method creates more tension. Strive to let go [in your mind] and release your body into natural alignment.
If neck angle makes all the difference, then it follows that the less you look down the better your posture and neck health will be.
Here’s where you can leverage the cleverly named Roost laptop riser to bring your laptop up to eye level and say goodbye to the old painful laptop hunch forever. You’ll need an external keyboard as well, otherwise you will be exchanging neck and back pain for shoulder strain.
Tip: Resist the urge to sit up straight and hold your shoulder back. Instead, perform the recalibration exercise, every hour or so. Let go [in your mind] and relax into natural alignment.
One of the simplest ways I’ve found to release one of the most common area of tension in the body, is shoulder rolls.
Tight upper traps, caused by slightly pinching your shoulders up while typing, is a nasty syndrome. The tightness seeps into the muscles of the neck and down in to the thoracic spine, restricting your mobility and eventually impinging the nerves of your neck and spine.
Shoulder rolls alleviate the tension in your traps. You can also close your eyes and breath in through your nose, then out through your mouth. This alleviates the tension and also gives the exercise a meditative quality. For this reason, I perform shoulder rolls before every Digital Handshake™.
We are creatures of habit. So much so that changing our habits is challenging. Establishing new habits requires conscious effort.
Tools like the Roost make creating new habits much easier through forced adoption. Once the Roost is in place, you will no longer be looking down at your primary screen. After about a week you can’t imagine any other way to use your computer. But don’t stop there. If you want to increase your benefits, perform the recalibration and shoulder exercise before every phone call, Digital Handshake™, or when you finish your cup of whatever tickles your fancy.
Be well amigos! If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please use the comments section below. I will respond to every comment personally.
Will is the Managing Director of jiveSYSTEMS and creator of the Digital Handshake™, a digital version of a time-proven tradition that turns tedious follow-up into a closing conversation. Will’s a hands-on guy, with a decade of experience enabling sales teams to leverage video. Will's an instant catalyst for positive change, once you get to know him, you’ll completely understand why.
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