Productivity is a huge topic. There are entire blogs devoted to helping you focus more easily.
From productivity planners to special timers and even phone settings that let you limit your social media scrolling, everyone has a productivity hack.
Of course, most productivity tips focus on your mind — limiting distractions and getting your brain back in the game.
So, you may be wondering:
What does your sitting posture have to do with productivity?
Why does your body position matter when it comes to getting things done?
Hold up…before you check out and click away to go watch silly cat videos on Facebook (not that I would blame you one bit, silly cat videos are life), let me tell you a secret that for some reason no one else in the productivity sphere seems to know:
Slouching does more than hurt your back. It also hurts your brain in some very measurable ways.
So you can productivity plan until you’re purple with orange polka dots, but if you don’t fix your hunched back and rounded shoulders, your brain just won’t work as well as it might if you sat up straight.
Here are three ways that fixing your posture will benefit your brain:
Better Posture Delivers More Fuel to Your Brain
You can’t blow up a balloon very effectively if someone is squeezing it while you’re trying to inflate the thing.
Well, likewise, when your ribs are squeezing your lungs, you can’t take a full breath. Lungs are like balloons inside your body, and they need space to expand.
Scientists have proven definitively — but not surprisingly — that slouching decreases lung capacity.
Why does this matter for productivity and focus?
Your brain uses more energy than any other organ in your body. It needs oxygen to process glucose, its primary fuel source.
The more active your brain, the more fuel it requires. So, when you’re thinking hard, your brain needs a lot of oxygen.
When you slouch, you’re cutting off your brain’s fuel supply. And that means your focus is clouded by mental fog, making it harder to get stuff done quickly.
If you’re thinking, “Sure, Sukie, but my back hurts more when I sit up straight,” then I’ve got your…err…back.
Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
Anyhow, I cover the basics of how to sit with good posture so your back doesn’t round and your shoulders stay down in my ebook, Perfect Posture for Life.
I find that most of my clients **think** they’re sitting up straight but they’re actually using way too much effort. Good posture should be easy to maintain.
Sit Up Straight to Make Solving Problems A Cinch
If better posture improves breathing and delivers more oxygen to your energy hungry brain, then it stands to reason that problem solving would also get easier when you sit up straight.
Definitely. In fact, researchers who looked at a group of students attending SFO University found that taking a math test became easier with upright posture.
Students also reported decreased test anxiety when they sat up straight versus slouching.
It would seem from this study that upright posture has the ability to improve cognitive function under stress.
Sitting up straight makes you smarter.
It’s kind of like your very own superpower. The next time you’ve got a tough challenge to work through, you can just think, “Activate posture!” and know that you’re getting a secret brain boost from straightening out your spine.
(Let’s just say it like it is: I’m a total nerd. Now you know.)
Upright Posture is Better Than Coffee for Getting Through The Day on No Sleep
Slept like crap last night?
Poised to guzzle the entire coffee pot to make it through your day?
You might not know this, but your body position — aka your posture — actually has the power to completely erase a terrible night of sleep.
That’s right, just straightening your spine can cancel out the negative effects of poor sleep on attention and focus.
Researchers started to suspect that putting people into a reclined position before sliding them inside an MRI machine might tweak the results.
And no surprise — it did!
While those who laid down to have their brain scanned showed a huge gap in function between people who slept well and those who didn’t, there was no difference in reaction time found for participants who sat upright.
Here’s what that means:
Sitting in an upright posture improves your working memory even if your toddler woke you up at two in the morning last night.
And again at three. And four. You get the picture.
Of course, there is a catch.
(There’s always a catch.)
Most people are doing posture all wrong. Seriously. If I see one more article online telling people to pull their chins back and clench their abs…
(Insert gif of me clenching fist here.)
Good posture is easy to maintain.
It doesn’t require extra tension.
You don’t have to “nanny” your body with your attention.
In fact, most of my clients find that once their bodies get properly aligned, maintaining good posture is effortless.
And even if you do get out of alignment, finding your way back is quick and painless.
I cover all of this in my ebook, Perfect Posture for Life. Not only do I tell you what works and why it works (hey, inquiring minds want to know), but I also give you exact exercises that you can use to release tight muscles and restore good alignment.
This isn’t the same old posture advice you see scattered around the internet. Seriously, if that stuff worked, we’d all have perfect posture already and you wouldn’t be reading this.
Right. So what are you waiting for? Click here to buy Perfect Posture for Life. It takes like sixty seconds to complete the checkout and download the book.
(Also, I stand behind my work. If you don’t love it, and if it’s not the most thorough book on posture you’ve ever read, I’ll give you your money back with no questions asked. So even if you’re just curious, click here to buy the book.)