This small lifestyle tweak could help ease depression

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

A tiny lifestyle tweak might be all that is needed for some to help alleviate the symptoms of mild to moderate depression, according to a new study.

People dealing with the mental health condition, which is one of the most common in the UK, might find themselves feeling less tired and more enthusiastic if they simply try to improve their posture.

The study builds on past evidence that has shown sitting or standing up straight can both improve mood and boost self-esteem in people without the condition.

The study, due to be published next month in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, tested the theory on 61 people who described themselves as having mild to moderate depression.

The participants were split into two groups and told to either sit in their usual position or sit with straight backs, holding their shoulders down and their heads high.

They then had to complete a series of stressful tasks, such as counting backwards from 1,022 in steps of 13 or giving a speech, while their actions were monitored by researchers.

Incredibly, the small tweak of sitting more upright led those in that group to “have more energy, less negative mood, and were less self-focused”, according to co-author Elizabeth Broadent from the University of Auckland.

And the benefits of sitting upright didn’t end there.

"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,” Broadent told The Telegraph.

"Research also suggests that sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, feel less fearful, and have higher self-esteem after a stressful task.”

Images: Getty