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Good Posture is a Great Hobby

Standing up straight is a hobby of mine.

I know; it’s not as exotic as collecting stamps from around the world, or as creative as turning seashells into mp3 players, or as exciting as heli-skiing, but it’s all I’ve got. That, and rolling spare change into coin holders.

When I was growing up, my dad always told my brother and me (and my mom, for that matter) to stand up straight. He taught us how to roll our shoulders forward, then up, then back, and then drop them straight down so they fell away from our ears and into the right place in their sockets. So I had that early training going for me. Not that I was into it back then.

It wasn’t until the mid-1990’s that it really hit me what a productive hobby standing up straight could be.

On my way to the gym one day, I decided to practice good posture. When I arrived at the gym, mentally focusing on walking tall, the guy behind the counter who took my membership card said, “You look like you already worked out.”

By his appreciative tone, I could tell he was offering me a compliment. This, from the same guy who had taken my card dozens of times and never managed more than a grunt.

I attributed his sudden interest in me and my physical fitness to the fact that I was standing straight and tall when I walked in. I’d gone from “Typical Tina” to “Towering, Take-Charge, Totally Tina,” who was apparently a force to be noticed.

The effect of posture on appearance is obvious. But did you know it also influences your health?

Over the years, I’ve added dimension to my hobby by practicing standing with my weight distributed evenly on both feet like they teach you in the martial arts, and allowing my arms to remain at my sides instead of using my hands to cover my groin like a fig leaf, or knotting my arms over my chest defensively, or locking my hands behind me like a giant five-year-old (I’m nearly six feet tall, so the effect is amplified).

The arms-at-my-sides thing made me feel dorky and insecure at first, but now it’s second nature and instead of undermining me it helps me feel confident in any space I fill.

Sometimes when I’ve finished all the items on my To-Do list and I’m looking for something else to do, I practice good posture. Call me a geek, but I think it’s fun. As I said, it’s a hobby of mine.

You might want to adopt this hobby yourself. It’s not a conventional one, but it takes no time and enhances not just your appearance and your health, but how you feel about yourself.

See “Bad Posture Make You Sad and Afraid, Study Finds

About Tina Gilbertson

Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist, speaker and author based in Denver, Colorado. She specializes in supporting parents of estranged adult children through therapy, consulting and other resources, and offers assertiveness training and executive coaching for organizations. The author of "Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them" and the "Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children," Tina is often featured in the media as an expert on communication and relationships. Her blog on PsychologyToday.com is called "Constructive Wallowing."
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