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Changing posture to cure Depression

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    By Kent Parker - Posted on 01 December 2015

    We learn that depression is a mental illness in that it affects our mind and the way we think.  When we are treated, the treatment usually consists of having a therapist help us to change the way we think and in the short term, take psycho-active medication, which targets the brain, to ease the pain.  The focus is largely on what is perceived to go on inside our head.

    But depression also has to do with the body.  The first thing to note here is that depressive mood is often accompanied by a collapsed chest.  When we feel down, we slump in our chair and our chest collapses.  Over long term depression, where we previously stood tall, we become stooped.

    What happens when our chest becomes slumped?

    1. It affects our voice, how well we resonate and ultimately how well we communicate with others.
    2. It affects our functionality.  We are less able to coordinate body movement and carry out complex tasks. 
    3. It affects our confidence.  We have a weaker handshake, strike a weaker pose, and look less attractive and capable.

    To help overcome depression it is also beneficial to work on posture, especially focused on the chest.  There are a number of yoga poses which are good for the chest by encouraging us to stretch it out.  Any number of these can be found on the internet by searching on “yoga poses good for the chest”.  When doing these poses or any pose, which are intended to improve posture, we must focus diligently on getting control of and stretching out the mass of tiny muscles in between the ribs, called the intercostal muscles.  Unlike muscles in our arms and legs, these muscles are not easy to work and develop.  They are small and closely aligned with the rib bones, which means they can only be stretched a few millimeters at a time.  This also means that chest stretching exercises can be done at any time surreptitiously while waiting in a queue, sitting in a plane, car, bus or work desk.  Obviously, the more we practice the sooner we will achieve your goals. 

    Developing the intercostal muscles takes time and practice but the result is not only a change in posture but also a change in thought patterns, because the functionality of our body affects the functionality of our thoughts.   The more functional our body is, the more functional are our thoughts.