Week 8 – Walking Tall Creative Courage Challenge
“A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.” ~Morihei Ueshiba
No, I’m not talking about The Rock, but that certainly is a good place to start isn’t it? He unquestionably has excellent posture!
One of the easiest ways to tell how a person feels about themselves is to examine their walk. Is it slow, quick, tired, painful, energetic, purposeful? People with confidence generally walk quickly; they have places to go, people to see and important work to do! Just walking 25% faster than you do now will make you look and feel more important and improve your confidence! Which of course will build your Creative Courage! Yep, just that one change could have that big of an impact.
Similarly the way a person carries themselves tells a story. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self-confidence. They aren’t enthusiastic about what they are doing and they don’t generally consider themselves important- it shows in the manner in which they present themselves. This is not how we want to be seen, or perceived is it?
By practicing good posture, you will automatically look and feel more confident! So stand up straight, keep your head level, and make eye contact. By doing this you will make a positive impression on others and instantly feel more alert and empowered.
“I’m really critical of my posture, it makes a big difference. And I try to suck my belly in. Everyone should do that whether you’re on a red carpet or not. Even if you’re just going out to dinner with your boyfriend you should try and suck it in.” ~Katy Perry
The truth is, you are far more attractive when you have good posture as well. My daughter and a few of her friends were in her room one afternoon talking about how they need to lose some weight and how their bellies stuck out… I asked my daughter to stand sideways in front of the full length mirror, and made sure everyone was looking, then I said to my daughter “now stand up straight”…the whole room was in total awe at how it instantly changed the way she appeared! She immediately looked 5lbs. lighter, and her belly no longer ‘stuck out’. She even felt as if her hair looked longer because she was holding her head in the correct position. I showed all of the girls proper posture, they decided they did not need to lose weight, and they immediately felt more confident. It’s an amazing transformation for such a small action.
We often will self correct our postures throughout the day, unfortunately once the mind begins to wander, we revert to our lazy, incorrect, unhealthy posture. Having good posture does in fact take some conscious thought and effort. Everything worth anything generally does. So let’s get to it!
Correct posture results in the derriere being tucked in, the chest/breasts more prominent, shoulders and head back, and more gradual lumbar thoracic and cervical spinal curves. Your tummy will tighten and you will stand taller.
Now if you only read that last sentence and try to correct yourself, you may be quite uncomfortable…it’s important to be more curious and delve deeper into it so that you are doing it properly, because stressed or over-correction, is poor posture as well.
I have found that learning the yoga “Mountain Pose” or Tadasana, helps me to get into the proper position. The Yoga Basics website is a wonderful resource for any level of practice, and a good place to start. If you practice the Mountain Pose, eventually you will be able to plant your feet and quickly settle into proper posture without the arm movements. I might suggest that practicing yoga regularly will make quite and improvement on your posture in general.
Southern California Orthopedic Institute (SCIO) explains, “Whether we are standing, sitting or lying down gravity exerts a force on our joints, ligaments and muscles. Good posture entails distributing the force of gravity through our body so no one structure is overstressed.” Making sure no one part is overstressed is what makes posture so important.
CORRECT posture distributes your weight evenly on both hips, avoids slouching forward or overextending your chin. It will align your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles to form a straight line, and your general movements will become easier and less stressful on your muscles and joints. Correct postures will not only spare you from health problems, such as back and shoulder pain, but it will improve your breathing, increase your alertness, develop concentration and self-confidence as well as make you look taller, slimmer….how does that NOT help you build Confidence & Creative Courage?!
“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” ~ Daliai Lama
As Artists and Creatives, building courage is essential; working on our posture will improve our general courage and self-confidence, which in turn amplifies our creative courage! Maintaining correct posture is a mandatory requirement for an effective confident personality. Until and unless you stand tall, sit straight, and bend with grace, your confidence will not be reflected from your personality. Let’s look at the reasons that correct posture is important and what exactly makes good posture.
Contrary to popular belief, good posture does NOT mean keeping your spine totally straight. Many people used to hold to this belief, including myself, until I began practicing yoga…I was amazed at how simple it actually is to correct and maintain good posture and what a big difference it made. So, if you are attempting to maintain proper posture, and it seems like a great effort, you are probably doing it wrong! Good posture maintains the two natural curves in your back at a comfortable stance. When you are in the right position, it should feel almost effortless…I say almost, because it will take a bit of effort until you and your muscles become comfortable with the habit.
“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.” ~Helen Keller
- Improve your Creativity: Poor breathing problems can actually develop from bad posture. Good posture naturally enables you to breathe properly. The correct posture will open airways, and makes room for your lungs to function at their best, and healthy lung function will have a positive impact on all aspects of the body’s functions. When you are breathing properly, you increase your brain activity. Our brains require about 20% of our oxygen intake to do its job properly, thus more air, more oxygen, more oxygen more brain food, more brain food leads to more thoughts and creative ideas! Hello….just breathing better will cultivate and develop our creativity!!
- Improve your Health: Good posture is actually a wonderful subtle exercise for your abs and your back; holding the proper stance makes you use and strengthen your core muscles with very little effort. Poor posture may result in several complications over time: increased risk of slipped disc, back pain, pressure in your chest, and poor circulation. Proper posture reduces abnormal wear and tear on joint surfaces that lead to arthritis, it reduces stress on ligaments that connect spinal joints, which can cause spinal disk problems and constricted blood vessels and nerves, which can cause chronic pain in muscles and joints. Correct posture will help you use your muscles more efficiently, because your bones and joints will be in proper alignment, as a result you will feel more energetic, because your body will require less energy to move.
- Improve your Image: Correct posture will improve your image, your appearance and the way you feel about yourself. People with good postures simply look smarter and more attractive! True story. Proper posture will send out a better first impression. A person with good posture naturally exudes an aura of assertiveness and appeal. When people hold themselves in correct posture, they send signals to their brain that makes them feel happier and more confident. The power and appearance of your posture is quite potent.
So…to get acquire more Creative Thoughts, Creative Courage and Self Confidence, how do we improve our posture? How do we know if our posture is indeed correct or incorrect? Well, we could first do a Posture Assessment, which I found on another site, but I believe we are each of us aware of whether or not we are practicing proper postures…
A quick note to the gals out there with large…gals. One thing that will actually help you with your posture is to make certain your “girls” are correctly corralled and supported. The wrong size bra can be detrimental not only to the health of your breasts, but also to your entire body, and the larger the breast the more important it is to be correctly supported. There is a wonderful woman who has been dubbed the Boob Whisperer who states she can measure better than anyone else; but most higher end stores also have someone that can fit your properly. Once you have the proper size and type of support, not only will correct posture be easier to maintain, the correct bra will instantly make you look slimmer and more confident! Break Out Bras is a fantastic website for information and to help you make sure you are fitted properly!
Here are a few ways in which we can ALL move towards the correct posture position, some we can begin to put into practice immediately, and others which you may or may not want to invest in…but there is not a bad idea among them!
- Identify your Key Motivation for having good posture. Why do you want to have good posture? To improve your creativity, your breathing, other’s perception of you, avoid health issues, build your confidence, or all of the above? I say go with “All of the Above” because correct posture will give you all of that. The point is to keep the motivation clear in your mind so that when you are feeling lazy about your posture, you can remind yourself why you are doing it at all, it will help you keep on task.
- Set a Reminder to Check your Posture. Most of us will have the intention to keep correct posture, but we will generally forget about it five minutes later! I remind in the form of a post it, calendar alarm, when you are doing certain tasks…whatever indicator and frequency works for you, but in the beginning it would be better to have a frequency of every 15 minutes or so.
- Imagine your Body is Held by A String. It may sound strange, but effective none the less. Imagine your spine and head are held up by a string attached to the ceiling at all times. If you are lying down, imagine the string is held in a direction parallel to the ground. Focus on keeping the ears, spine, hips and heels are aligned with the string. Usually people end up tensing the other parts of the body when keeping correct posture, you need to remind yourself to relax, this string imagery will help you keep focused on keeping your back straight and loosening your other muscles, this will actually make it easier to keep proper posture.
- Plant Your Feet, when standing or sitting. Meaning to have both feet planted flat on the floor, with weight evenly distributed. Do not rest your weight on a particular foot, don’t cross your legs, or even your ankles if you can manage it. This helps to keep your upper body straight an in proper posture.
- Plant Your Butt when sitting. Place your bum at the innermost edge of the chair you are sitting on, although seemingly benign action, it helps set the right base for your posture. If you set your butt in the middle or edge end of the chair, this causes you to lean or slouch forward and hunch since there is no support behind that back to press against.
- Eliminate Bad Posture Habits Including but not limited to watching tv or reading while lying down, working under dim light (which results in slouching believe it or not), sleeping on your belly, and crossing your legs while sitting.
- Avoid Carrying Heavy Items Just the act of carrying heavy items is bad for our back and shoulders, attempting to carry heavy loads over long periods of time gradually leads to hunched shoulders and backs. This is especially prevalent in students with backpacks or professionals that might carry laptops and work materials to and fro from work. If it is not possible to reduce the load you carry around, consider a roller bag. Remember your posture, health, and creativity is at stake here!
- Exercise Your Posture There are several exercises to improve your posture, and in general all types of pilates, yoga, and any exercise that strengthens your back will be beneficial. You must make sure you are doing the exercises correctly though or you may in fact hurt your back instead. You could purchase/borrow a DVD, join a class, or practice at home from written instructions…however you choose to do it, just do it!
- Go to a Professional You might wish to have a chiropractor or physical therapist to give you a professional assessment if you have extremely poor posture or a history of back injuries. You might also like to get a professional shoulder and back massage. A massage loosens up your muscles and joints which may allow you to more easily improve your posture, especially if it is quite poor.
- Challenge Your Chair You may need to invest in a good quality chair, or even a “chair alternative” like a ball or other ergonomic choice. A good chair will run up to your shoulders to support them when you lean back. You may wish to simply purchase a chair cushion to improve the chair you already have. If you choose this route, use one that does not attach to the chair, as each time you move forward it will become displaced and remind you to realign your posture.
- Battle Your Bed Invest in a goldilocks bed, a mattress that is not too firm and not too soft. Soft may make you feel nice and comfy at first, but it’s not good for your posture and neither is one that is too hard. Even if you aren’t able to invest in a new mattress, you might start with a better pillow. The contour pillows support your head and are probably the best for sleeping, although the horseshoe travel pillow used in your bed may also give you an improvement.
I have found three extra difficult times in which to make certain I have proper posture: driving the car, watching television and while walking in heels, I have discovered a few solutions…but more on that later…
Hence forth this week’s challenge! BE “The Rock”, and Walk Tall! Sit Tall! Stand Tall! Work the steps, change your habits, be more aware, improve your body. Stand correctly, improve your posture, improve your breathing, and oxygenate your brain. Look more attractive, construct your confidence, crank your creativity and build your creative courage!! You can do it, I know you can!!
JeaneMargherite Meria Murray McMahon Schintgen
(that’s my name, don’t wear it out!)
Posted on February 17, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged artisan, artist blog, artistic courage, building courage, challenge, courage builders, creative process, creatives, good posture, improve your posture, jeanemargherite, jewelry, jewelry artist, jmms, shimmerlings, sit up straight, The Rock, walk tall, walking tall. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.