Sitting Upright Empowers Your Mind and Improves your Mood

According to science, your brain and your postural axis are related. This means that something as simple as sitting up straight can improve both your mood and your attention.
Sitting Upright Empowers Your Mind and Improves your Mood
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

What position are you in now? Sitting, standing, lying down perhaps? Well, you might be interested to know that sitting upright helps to both empower your mind and improve your attention. Furthermore, it even improves your mood. Therefore, if you’re one of those people who’s always tried to take care of your postural axis when working at your desk, you now know that you were taking care of your mental well-being at the same time.

You might be interested to learn in what kind of sitting position your mind tends to focus more on a task. In fact, neuroscientists claim that posture and the brain are related. They claim that the amount of stress you experience is linked to these two variables.

You might’ve already noticed that it’s not the same studying or working with a hunched back as when you’re in an upright position. Indeed, when you improve your posture, raise your head, and align your back to the chair, you notice a change. Suddenly, your attention improves and you feel more motivated.

It’s almost like doing a reset of your body and mind…

The way you move and even how you sit affects your mood

man at desk representing how to sit upright

Why does sitting upright help empower your mind?

Over the course of your life, you’ve probably heard the words “sit up straight” many times. You may well have thought that this suggestion was aimed at taking care of your spine. Indeed, everyone knows how delicate and important this area of the body is. However, what not everyone may know is how posture relates to emotions.

One of the figures who has studied this topic most intensively is Dr. Erik Peper. He’s a behavioral scientist and professor at the University of San Francisco. In one of his research papers, Peper claims that sitting upright helps empower your mind. In fact, he found that, by doing so, students could improve their performance in math.

As a matter of fact, good posture optimizes your attention and commitment to the task at hand. In addition, it regulates your mood. Dr. Peper points out that when you’re hunched over, your mind doesn’t work 100 percent. In fact, you’re actually tensing and putting the balance of your spine at risk. In addition, this lazy posture means you’re more likely to feel disinclined to carry out what you’re meant to be doing.

Your posture influences how you look and feel

It’s pretty obvious, and now there’s also clear evidence to support the fact that your posture is a reflection of your state of mind. Indeed, so often, almost without realizing it, you find yourself bent over your desk, trapped by stress, fatigue, and even laziness. This all feeds back. In fact, in this situation, your emotions are influencing your posture and your posture is increasing your feelings of discomfort.

For example, we know that feelings of sadness often tend to promote a hunched-over type of posture. In addition, stress states can keep you in an uncomfortable and even painful position for hours without you even noticing.

Sometimes, it’s enough to simply stretch. Take a deep breath and put your back straight and just see how it immediately improves your well-being. In fact, your mind restarts, and your energy levels improve.

Your back, neck, and head are aligned, your gaze is directed to the front, and your brain activates its focus and attention level.

The brain associates certain postures with certain states of mind. For example, lying down, hunched up or bent over is associated with rest or discouragement. Therefore, they reduce your levels of attention.

Embodied cognition

There’s an extremely interesting phenomenon that scientists call embodied cognition. This experience is defined by something very simple. It’s the fact that not only posture modulates mood, but your movements can also affect what you think. How does this work? The supporting data is certainly curious.

The Autonomous University of Madrid conducted research that claims that whether you nod or shake your head affects your assessment of something. For instance, if you nod your head, you gain confidence in your thoughts. However, when you shake your head, you lose confidence in what you’re thinking.

Embodied cognition reminds us that movements also evoke emotions and even a series of thoughts in the brain. An association that explains why sitting upright improves the quality of your thoughts and even makes you feel more creative.

Adopting an upright posture allows you to better control negative thoughts. This is much more difficult when you’re hunched over your desk. 

back representing how to sit upright

Sitting correctly provides numerous benefits

Almost all of us understand that sitting ergonomically with our backs and necks straight allows us to take care of our spine. In this way, we avoid contractures, tensions, trapped nerves, and the classic aches and pains associated with spending hours sitting in front of the computer.

It’s interesting to note that posture isn’t only good for your physical well-being, but also your mental health and even your productivity. Furthermore, the fact that your feelings of motivation, focus, and even inspiration can depend on something as simple as leaning correctly on the back of your chair. It’s a fact that’s certainly worth remembering.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Briñol, P., & Petty, R. E. (2003). Overt head movements and persuasion: A self-validation analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(6), 1123–1139.
  • Muehlhan, M., Marxen, M., Landsiedel, J., Malberg, H., & Zaunseder, S. (2014). The effect of body posture on cognitive performance: a question of sleep quality. Frontiers in human neuroscience8, 171.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.