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Posture Power

The ABC’S of Health

By Dr. Jo Gjelsten

Mind Over Body… You GOT THE POWAH!

You do? Yeah, you do! Sit at your desk for 2 minutes with your hands behind your head and your feet resting on top, for about a minute or so, perhaps after you’ve been slogging through the mud, and after the boss pops in. This pose, according to a study by someone who likes to put her feet up, (Psychological Science) actually makes you feel “alpha” Al, and increases testosterone Thelma! Or you might stand behind the desk, leaning forward for 2 minutes on your palms like you’re about to yell at someone, and get the same result. Each pose can lower cortisol, a stress hormone! You want cortisol in times of acute stress, or in the morning to roust you out of bed, but not too much all day as it’s implicated in blocking weight loss among other things. A revolutionary thing this “poses that influence hormones” discovery, but the apes have know that for eons. They just hadn’t invented desks yet. So you can actually boss your body into being bossy, or at least confident; enough that subjects who did this were more likely to take a chance on a 2 dollar all or nothing bet than those who didn’t.  In fact, the “low power” posed group had their arms and legs crossed, and sat with their legs together and hands clasped in front of them for one minute, like good little children I’m thinking, and their testosterone levels were lower and cortisol higher. So it seems that open “expansive” postures give you confidence, and closed postures make you meek, or at least more submissive, or even depressed.  That whole idea that curling up into a ball when you’re really upset, it would seem, ‘taint ‘fa nuttin!  So the opposite happens when we’re happy, like when we win something, or our team wins a game, or when our spouses take out the garbage. We throw our arms up in the air, palms out, grinning ear to ear, turning in circles for all to see! Hey!! Guess who just took out the garbage..hooray!!Athletes experience an increase in testosterone before a game, and after, but only if they win, so don’t expect the big guy to be in a partying mood after the loss. For those who win though, this burst of “T” gives them an edge for their performance; nature does provide doesn’t it? Ok so they’ll be fighting over the shaving kits in the women’s locker room. So Dr. Jo says posture is important for many reasons. As a Chiropractor, I am constantly telling my patients to sit up straight with shoulders back; an “expansive” pose. This is because I like to see them using their bodies the way they should bio-mechanically to avoid pain, something I found out personally years ago after a severe back problem, now not a problem, forced me to become a Chiropractor and writer of pithy articles. But I even demonstrate how much older and sadder I look when rolling my shoulders forward, head forward and down, crying my eyes out, then show how many years younger I now look with shoulders back, smiling, and my patients really believe the age thing; why? Because it’s true! Do the standing up straight, with shoulders back, head held high, a smile on your face and a martini in your hand and you’ll see how much better you are at doing this in front of a mirror, with your own before, slouching, and after, going for a job interview poses.  Now I can add that slouching reduces testosterone, and this is great for the guys who will IMMEDIATELY sit up (you’re doing it now aren’t you?), but what about you gals? Unless you’re having hormone problems that are causing a lot of hair growth, those of you whose libidos are stuck in neutral may need a little bit of help with your testosterone. After using these poses you may even grab the remote, or maybe grabbing the remote and putting your feet on the coffee table will kick up a little “T”, toots! Your hubby, or wubby may thank you! If that scares you, firstly, make a fist, and if that doesn’t work, go do some yoga that includes “mountain” and “warrior” poses, because those expansive postures may make you feel better Bubbalah!. Another plus to an open posture is that you may be perceived as more competent, but don’t forget to be “warm” and competent, because cold and competent ain’t pretty to most folks. Exceptions may be that in the Far East for instance, this whole thing may go out the window because their culture is such that they’re in competition to see who can be more deferential. But here we are plugged into our American competitiveness and hubris which, as we see by body language, can actually change our affect and body chemistry. So what about other instances where we use these “in charge” poses? I have no scientific evidence, but biking comes to mind if you don’t do it on your elbows, and skiing, as both use a pose you may liken to putting hands down on a desk and leaning forward to meet a challenge. If you do both with a smile, as I do, in addition to looking a little goofy, that little act actually makes you happy! And for those in school or college, grades can be impacted by your confident participation too! If you’re studying for an MBA, participation is HALF your grade! To help keep your stress levels down, practice good posture, you future movers and shakers! During any crisis, leaders need to take over and when doing so, cortisol needs to be lower to think clearly and calmly, and testosterone needs to be elevated. (To be honest what comes to mind now is how many times have we seen sex scandals around people who have powerful positions..a little too much “T”?...somebody do a study.. ok, I digress, a little.)  So on a job interview, good posture at least will make you look more competent, until you are more competent. So don’t hunch over your ipad waiting for your interviewers, who, according to surveys, are influenced by the way you sit and stand.  Of course if you put your feet up on their desk don’t expect a call back. Hope your holidays were jolly! Copy it right 12/12/12 www.GoDrJo.com

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August 11, 2016
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Joanne Gjelsten

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