Most people believe that winter is the highest time for depression related suicides. The facts and statistics say it’s springtime. We need to keep in mind that common beliefs are not always correct. Now that this winter is coming to a close, and with spring just around the corner, we need to use our full resource base to counter depression in every way we can.
If the the grayness of winter, a job you dislike, a less than fulfilling relationship, the usual winter weight gain or just a bad day has been getting you down, the following may be of interest. One of the ways that has been proven to be effective in both research and application is through posture. And, it can be done without prescription drugs, sessions on the couch and a lot expense.
When you were growing up your mom, like most moms, probably told you hundreds of times to eat your veggies and to sit up straight. Well, research has proven her right on both subjects.
It’s estimated that 10 million Americans suffer from mild to moderate depression. A new study done at the University of Auckland in New Zealand found that many people can get at least some measure of relief simply by improving their posture.
The researchers noticed that patients suffering mild to moderate depression typically sat in a more slumped posture than non-depressed people. They knew that better sitting posture eased stress and wondered if it could also reduce depression.1
61 patients with mild to moderate depression participated in the study. Researchers randomly divided the participants into two groups. One group was asked to sit in their normal slouched position. The other group was told to sit upright with straight backs, level shoulders and to keep their neck and head straight. Researchers used physiotherapy tape on their backs to help keep them in an upright posture.2
The researchers then had the two groups participate in two tests. In the first test, they delivered a five-minute speech. In the second they were asked to count backwards from 1,022 in steps of 13.
In both tests, the upright posture group showed more enthusiasm, less fatigue and fewer observable markers of depression than the slouch group. Those who had good posture were more outgoing, exhibited less fear, spoke more clearly and used more words during their speech.
They also had fewer errors when counting down. All of these behaviors and emotions are signs their depression was reduced. 3
The co-author of the study, Dr. Elizabeth Broadbent, is an associate professor of psychological medicine at Auckland University. Dr. Broadbent observed that subjects sitting upright had “more energy, had less negative mood and were less self-focused.”
She also wrote that: “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.”4
It was noted that “For severe, disabling depression, sitting posture is not likely to make much of a difference. But for mild or moderate depression, sitting up straight may help patients manage their mood and be more productive.” “Sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, feel less fearful, and have higher self-esteem,”
Her findings are due to be published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry.5
SOOTHING EMOTIONS WILL GUIDE YOU WITH RESEARCH, ARTICLES, AND INTERACTIVE TOOLS TO HELP YOU ON THE JOURNEY OF NAVIGATING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.
More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out" of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don't get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counseling or both.