A holistic approach
Often when we get aches and pains or feel like our mood is a little low we tend to attribute it to one particular area of our life or physicality. However, we are finding more and more that the body and its health impacts significantly on our mental health, and that the opposite is also true. Being able to view the body and mind more holistically may be the answer to feeling at our best. In some instances, it may be as simple as; good posture, better mood.
The body holds the clues
The way we hold ourselves gives others clues about how we are feeling. When we are in good spirits, we tend to carry ourselves in a more open and upright manner. We walk tall, draw our shoulders back and face the day with a lifted chin. Conversely, when we are feeling low or uncomfortable, we tend to close up, perhaps a harking back to an old defence mechanism. We appear smaller, hunched and more hostile and it can often take a conscious effort to unfurl ourselves. Bad posture not only attributes greatly to aches and pains in various parts of the body but also gives us clues as to how we are feeling in our minds.
Reading our body language is an excellent way of working out how oneself is feeling at any one time. Those who have practised yoga or meditation will recognise the instructor’s advice to relax your jaw- a place where we often hold tension without even realising. It is only when someone nudges you to relax your jaw or shoulders or to settle your breathe further down your body that you can understand where you hold tension.
Because the body and mind work in such a holistic way, it may be possible to make tweaks to your posture to help lift your mood. By opening up your stance, it mimics how you would naturally hold yourself when in a better frame of mind. A practice as simple as taking a few deep breaths, breathing into your belly rather than your chest, and rolling back your shoulders can make a massive difference to how you feel mentally.
Standing tall not only makes you feel instantaneously more open to whatever the day throws at you but also opens up the lungs allowing you to take in more oxygen and giving you a better level of clarity in your thinking. By realigning the body, it also helps to alleviate stress held in the body- something that often creeps into your headspace. A phenomenon known as embodied cognition refers to just this idea- that the quality of your physical posture can have an impact on your mood and vice versa.
Take a moment
On finding yourself in moments of stress or low mood it may be beneficial to practice some simple stretches- lengthening the spine, drawing the shoulders back and lifting our brow to the horizon. Merely opening out the body in this way can go a long way to making you feel in a more positive mindset.
Here at The Health Lodge we view the body and mind as one entity and know how one can impact the other. To find out more about the treatments available which can benefit your postures, such as yoga, osteopathy or targeted pain relief, get in touch with our friendly team today.
Dr Louise Chiasson-Baxter*, Doctor of Chiropractic. Clinical Director, Spinal Specialist.
*Marie Lucie Louise Chiasson-Baxter is a Doctor of Chiropractic and is registered with the general chiropractic council, she is not a registered general practitioner and is not registered with the GMC.