Do you walk around shaped like a question mark? When you're sitting at the dinner table, are you hunched over the plate like someone is trying to steal your food? Does your brand new outfit look ho-hum because your body looks rumpled and you don't stand up straight? Well then, it might be time to follow the admonitions of nagging grandmas, finishing schools, and hundred-year-old etiquette books and stand up straight. Years ago, how you stood and sat and moved was of great importance. People respected and admired those who held their heads high and kept their chins up. "A beauty is someone who enters the room like a beauty," was an old adage. Slumpy slouching was a direct reflection of slumpy self-esteem. Poor posture could lead to deformed bodies and was said to reveal depraved character. Then society relaxed. While that in itself was not a bad thing, it resulted in poor posture growing rampant in our culture. Just because these arbiters gave up their carping doesn't mean they didn't have a point. Stand up straight — The benefits If you're troubled by a protruding belly, learning how to stand tall can make it appear as if you suddenly lost five pounds. Not just a matter of appearance, good posture helps project self-confidence and dignity. It can also help prevent back and neck problems, improve breathing and aid in digestion. Stand up straight — The challenges Young children tend to stand up straight until they start sitting in chairs for hours and begin to emulate the adults around them. No animal in nature is required to sit still for as long periods of time as we do. We are a country of sitters with weak, tight muscles. Take a look at your mom and see if your shoulders don't slope in a similar direction. Unfortunately, contrary to what people believe, straightening up now and then isn't enough. Learning to stand up straight takes time and effort. Tips for getting out of a slump
Stand up straight before a full-length mirror with your feet hip-width apart and pull in your abdominal muscles like you were putting on a tight pair of jeans. Keep your weight equally distributed on the four corners of both feet. Imagine there's a string pulling your breastbone to the ceiling and lift your rib cage. Unround your shoulders and press your shoulders away from your ears. Relax your arms, palms facing the sides of your thighs and thumbs pointing straight ahead. Finally stretch the top of your head to the ceiling and breathe. Imagine a headlight in your breastbone. Make sure it's shining forward, not down in your lap when you're sitting or toward the floor when you're standing. This will help you stand up straight. Practice tightening your abdominal muscles and flattening your stomach. This is an almost invisible exercise you can do anywhere, anytime. To find the muscles you're trying to strengthen, clasp your hands and press against the abdomen as you slowly draw in the muscles, flattening them as much as possible. Hold that position for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat three or four times. Avoid sitting for too long. Neck and shoulder tension, worsened by hours spent at the computer, often makes us slump. Take short breaks as often as possible, or at least stand up straight and stretch. Exercise regularly. Add flexibility exercises to your workout routine to strengthen the muscles that are weak and stretch those that are tight. Remember more than straightening up, you're trying to loosen up. Posture and self-esteem are directly influenced by each other. So stand up straight and you will reap the added bonus of feeling better about yourself.
Read about getting out of a slump and learn with tips from BeingGirl.com.