6 Body Postures for a Better Brain

Your body can actually influence your brain and what it thinks and feels, simply by giving it feedback. It’s true! Although our brain, generally speaking, controls our body, however the body is not without it’s influence over the brain. As a matter of fact, your mind and body work together to create the way you see the world.

Think of this as a sort of body language that only your brain would understand. The way in which your body sits, stands, walks, and some of the things it does, can have a big impact on how we feel as well as how we think.

Researchers have taken a good, long look at the way in which your brain interprets signals that come to it via your body. Take a look at some of these top 6 ways you can influence what your brain thinks simply by the way you handle your body.

Portrait of a handsome dark-skinned man who is holding his hands

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 1. Smiling can make you feel happy even when you aren’t

Your brain believes whatever it is your body is doing, apparently. So even on those days when you don’t feel happy, maybe your are feeling pretty crappy or even a bit blue, smile anyway. Smiling seems to trick the brain into making you feel less stressed out, and happier overall.

Researchers did a study where they asked their subjects to hold a pair of chopsticks in their mouths. Doing this gave their mouths an appearance as if they were smiling. ( try it right now, just imagine you have chopsticks in your mouth, and you will see it’s true) The researchers then asked these subjects to do some stressful tasks. The group who “smiled” with those chopsticks did much better than the subjects who held a straight face.

During a similar study that was published in 1988, subjects who were forced to smile by holding a pen in their mouths found that the cartoons they viewed seems funnier to them than by those who kept that poker face.

So smile! It can’t hurt and, apparently, it will sure help!


2. Shaking your head will affect your opinion

Posture is very closely related to body language. How we move or sit affects how others view us as well as our own moods, perhaps even our own habits. The two intersect quite a bit, according to researchers.

For example, in one study, subjects were told when to nod in agreement or to shake their heads for disagreements. It was later found that these actions actually affected the subjects opinions without them ever being aware of it.

So the next time a commercial or someone selling something tries to get you to nod your head yes, watch your wallet! You’re much more likely to agree with whatever it is they are selling.


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3. Standing tall can make you more powerful

Speaking of body language, this is also used throughout the world of animals. When many animals want to express power or dominance, they will do so through a more expansive posture, such as opening up wings, or fluffing up fur. A larger body size, or even simply projecting a larger body size, is equated with power.

Both Columbia University and Harvard Univeristy, showed that the power of body language can actually affect how we make decisions. Subjects were told to take on expansive, powerful poses or constricted, minimal poses. The group that stood in those powerful body postures felt more powerful and were as much as 45 percent more willing to take a risk or a bet.


4. It’s smart to snooze

When you take a nap, you are doing a lot more good than just giving your tired brain a little break. A nap during the day can improve memory power, your ability tlearn, as well as your mental performance. In fact, studies show that a short 15-30 minute nap can have similar effects to an entire good nights sleep. This doesn’t mean you should skip your 8 hours, but taking a short mid-day nap can have fantastic benefits for your noggin.


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5. Calm down with the Zen pose

You may have thought that meditation only affects your mind but recent research shows that when you put your body into a meditative posture, and, along with deep breathing, actually clears the mind and regulates the body.

It seems that putting your focus on the mechanisms of the brain can have a serious calming effect on the entire mind as well as body. Read also about top 10 foods that boost your brain power.


6. Sit up straight

You heard this endlessly as a child, right? It’s not known if those repititions from your parents and other relatives have anything to do with it but it has been discovered that when you are slouching and you reposition yourself to sit up straight, you are much more likely to remember positive memories or just have overall positive thoughts in general.

Maybe it’s because your mind feels that you are doing something good for yourself so it’s more likely to have positive thoughts, or perhaps it’s because you are remembering your mother, or the nurturing of having someone care enough about you to remind you do to the right thing.

Whatever the reason, mom was right. Sitting up straight is good for you, and it seems like it’s good for your mind as well.



The Science of Posture: Sitting up straight will make you happier, more confident and less risk-averse