Can stress effect your posture?
Or another way of looking at this is can your posture be causing more stress?
Let’s face it, we are all dealing with more stress these days and we need greater awareness and efficient methods to offset stress and tension in our bodies.
How Stress Shapes Our Bodies
First let us look at how stress actually shapes our bodies. Our diaphragm, in its natural relaxed resting state should be “dome” shaped. Our breath becomes shallow if stress is ongoing. This ongoing stress can cause tension in the diaphragm and overtime can flatten it out, losing its natural dome shape ( as shown in the image). So, as we are stuck in an “extension pattern” or “upregulated pattern” it effects our spine and our ribs begin to “flare out” or externally rotate. This puts further tension on the diaphragm and it starts to flatten it out. This posture further perpetuates the activation of the Autonomic Nervous system that runs up and down the thoracic spine. I call this an” anxiety pattern” and it is as though we are holding our breath. And in a way we literally are. To add to the problem, CO2 begins to build in our system which also exacerbates the issue of increased anxiety.
So what can be done? One simple answer is to EXHALE! Focus on getting your air “out” not “in”. Blowing a balloon can help to relax the ribs down and re-dome the diaphragm. A straw or kazoo can also do the trick. This rib relaxed position which starts with a full exhale is how we begin to access core strength and a healthier resting diaphragm position. I consider this one of the pivotal aspects of posture.
I hope you find this information useful and informative.