Monday, March 16, 2015

Postive Posture

This is a good blog about posture from the UK.  Follow along and learn the importance of posture!

Find Your Own Good Standing Posture

facebooktwitterlinkedinmailby featherNo matter what we’re doing, we’re in some kind of posture – stooping, leaning, sitting and, of course, standing. Have you ever wondered what your own Good Standing Posture is? If so, here’s the blog and video that will teach you how to find it. A lesson for life.

What is Standing Posture?

    • It’s when you’re standing!
    • It’s always comfortable.
    • Your standing posture is probably not textbook perfect and so can be improved.
There is a way to stand that is balanced and your centre of gravity falls through certain parts of your body. In this way, we stand efficiently and the deep postural muscles are working. These muscles support our joints and can work for long periods without fatigue. However, if we don’t stand in good posture, our centre of gravity falls through different parts of our body and different muscles must work to keep us there.
This is not so good because the muscles now working are not postural muscles and can fatigue.
This causes pain.

For example: Standing with your chin poking forwards

Now, this is something many of us do because we’re sat at a desk for hours, and that encourages the “Tortoise Posture”. When you stand like this, the muscles that must come into play to stop us from dropping our heads are the middle fibres of trapezius, and they run from the top of our shoulders to the base of our neck. This muscle can’t work for long periods and is a big source of pain for many people. So improving your posture will help reduce the activity of this muscle and thus you will get less pain.
To help improve your head and neck posture, you must be able to hold your head back a little so that your ear is in line with the middle of your shoulder when observed from the side. If you’ve stood with your head forwards for many years this will not happen quickly. You need to practice the Retraction Exercise which is on my previous blog. This will allow you to stretch the tight structures that are stopping you from holding a good head posture. You must do this about three times a day to have a gentle, effective stretch.
So, to find our good, pain-free standing posture this is what you do…

  • Stand with your back against a wall with heels 2cms away from the wall.
  • Your bottom, upper back, and if possible the back of your head should be resting on the wall. If your head won’t reach the wall don’t strain.
    In this position there should be just enough space to slide your hand in between the lower back inward curve and the wall.
  • If there is too much space, flatten this inward curve until your hand is touching the wall on one side and your back on the other side.
  • This will be your good standing posture for the lower back.
  • Whilst finding this position, keep your knees straight and don’t drop your chest down.

Mini Squat Exercise

To help you to learn and adapt this position, find your good posture position as explained above or on the video then…
  1. Whilst maintaining this good posture, slowly bend the knees to do a mini squat…
  2. …and then straighten your knees keeping the good postural position.
This will help you to learn the new, correct standing posture.
Now, the Retraction Exercise in my previous post will help you cope with a particularly common fault that causes poor standing posture. But of course, there are many other bad habits we can slip into, and we’ll look at some of them in future posts. But remember, once you know what good posture is you can work towards it.
So try out the advice we’ve covered today, and let me know how you get on!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Benefits of Gratitude

Want to be happy, healthy and have great relationships? Sure, we all do! And we’ve hear a million times about the obvious ways to take care of ourselves: exercise, diet etc.
But there’s one simple exercise that boosts all of these things simultaneously and that most of us simply don’t know. What’s that? Being thankful. Sound too simplistic to you? Not so fast! Check out 13 of its stellar science-backed benefits:

Benefits of Gratitude:


1 – Increases your Happiness. Counting your blessings leads to heightened well-being, especially positive mood (and who couldn’t use more of that?) (ref1. refref3).
2 – Brings you Happiness that Lasts. In fact, an attitude of gratitude can not only help you increase positive emotion, but also sustain it. Heck, ice cream can make us happy in the moment but gratitude leads to long-term happiness (ref)
3 – Protects you from Stress & Negativity. Gratitude is associated with decreased anxiety and depression and increased social support (ref)
4 – Reduces Your Materialism. One reason gratitude boosts our well-being is that it reduces materialism (ref) which is a good thing because materialism is linked to less happiness (ref)


5 – Makes you more socially intelligent (ref)
6 - Leads to better relationships. Gratitude strengthens your relationships and helps you create and maintain good relationships and feel more connected (ref1 and ref2 and ref3 and ref4)
7 – Makes you Sexier. Gratitude improves romantic relationships by making people feel more satisfied in their relationships and connected to their partner (ref)


8 – It Even Improves Sleep Quality & Duration- in part because you have more grateful/happy thoughts before you go to sleep (ref). Count blessings, not sheep?
9 – Strengthens Your Willpower to Make Better Decisions Gratitude make you stronger and helps you achieve your goals (ref) and make smarter long term decisions (ref)
10 – Benefits you at all ages from adolescence to adulthood (ref)


11 – Makes you a better person. It makes us better, more altruistic, moral and ethical people (ref1 and ref2). We become more helpful and kind to others (ref)
12 – Makes others better people too: those we thank are more likely to become more ethical people too (ref1 and ref2)
13 – Makes the World a Better Place. When you express your gratitude to someone, that person will go on to be kinder to others (ref)
Don’t feel grateful? No worries! It’s accessible to anyone. Whether we’re sick or well, old or young, employed or unemployed, if our heart is beating, air is flowing in our lungs, and we have had a meal today, we have something to be grateful for. “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a Rather Large Amount of Gratitude” (A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh).

Practicing Gratitude

Here are some simple ways to strengthen your thanking muscle:

1) A powerful way scientists have found can increase your well-being is simply making daily gratitude lists. Write down 5 things you feel grateful for every day. This simple (and short!) act can significantly increase your happiness.
2) Another way you can boost your gratitude is by spending a few minutes out of your day devoted to gratitude. Below is a gratitude meditation I put together that you can download and try for yourself today.
3) And finally, here’s a video by Brother David Steindl-Ross I love that never fails to elicit gratitude.
Let me know how it works out for you and share your experience in the comment section below!

Gratitude Meditation

Another way you can boost your gratitude is by spending a few minutes out of your day devoted to gratitude. Here’s a gratitude meditation I put together that you can download and try for yourself today.