I used to get sick of my mum telling me to stand up straight.
All the way through to adulthood. Same thing. A-nnoy-ing!
For me, I was sure I was standing up straight. Positive in fact. I’m sure others even told me I was standing up straight.
But not to my mum.
She spotted something in my posture no one else noticed but her. An imperceptible slouch only a dancing teacher or a mum would notice because they remember what you looked like with your shoulders back.
No cares. Lightness.
Then I slouched.
Was I being lazy when I was young? I’m don’t think so. I always had jobs or work on the go to get money. I know I had a lot going on in my head. I went to see coaches and therapists about it so it was real to me.
Did that cause the slouch?
I’m going to go out on a short limb here and say it did. Whatever I was working through, being better generally, caused the energy to leave me enough to cause the slouch.
And only one person noticed, mum. She probably had no idea why I was slouching but she definitely didn’t like the look of me doing it. And, I don’t remember questioning why I was doing it, my body just felt ok like that.
These days though I can’t remember the last time she said that to me. I’m writing this because it occurred to me after exercising that I have good posture now. I liked what I saw in a reflection.
I looked purposeful, strong. No slouch in sight.
So, what’s different now that I recognise my posture is good? I am practising noticing my thoughts that’s one thing. I exercise every day, that’s another. I stretch. That’s an activity I feel we should all be doing, every day. It helps keep you tall if you’re flexible. You don’t tighten up and wear everything out.
I pay attention to my body. That sounds a bit woo woo in my head as I write it but that’s what I do. I pay attention to my thoughts first because they become feelings, actions and things.
Do you pay attention to your thoughts? Would you know if you did?
Can you picture a pink elephant spraying water from its trunk? Then you just paid attention to your thoughts.
You have two minds, a thinking logical mind and a feeling emotional mind. Your thinking mind should be in control but it isn’t. We are completely controlled by our emotional mind… Yes, we are. But, your thinking mind can negotiate and cajole your feeling mind into doing what it needs / should to be doing. This is why you start with a walk instead of hitting the gym. You’ll think, this is easy, you’ll feel good and want to do it again. Then you might say, “Hey if this feels good. What would the gym feel like?”, and you go there and it feels good and then you’ll stick with it instead of stopping going after awhile.
These two voices are in your head all the time and sometimes those thoughts will make you slouch. Like they did to me. For years.
But with enough practice those thoughts will change, you will feel great because you’re looking after yourself and you will stand up straight.
Try it now, shoulders back, chin up, smile… Now carry that through your day and watch the difference.
Then do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next. Watch. Life-changing.
P.S. I’ve spent the last year working with author and Psychology Coach Charles Donoghue on a program that I believe will change your life permanently. Find out about this exciting and new program at foundationprogram.co.nz.