I recently visited a chiropractor to get my back assessed. Now, I know that I don’t have the best posture in the world, so it wasn’t a great surprise when he said the x-rays showed my spine was slightly out of alignment and that it was likely caused by my posture. He then went on to say we all slouch for a reason and his job is to figure out and correct that reason. And I, in my head was like hehe no I know the reason and I already have a therapist who addresses it, thank you very much. I didn’t say this though because he said he likes things that are logical and nothing about mental illness is logical.
But the truth is I know that I slouch because my mental illness lies and tells me I am not good enough, so I lack the self confidence to stand up straight. I essentially slouch to make myself smaller, hoping to be closer to the mental image I have of myself.
Correcting my posture would likely help my spine be more properly aligned. Yet it would also likely help my self confidence. Studies have shown that doing the Superman or Wonder Woman pose doesn’t just make you look more confident, but it makes you feel more confident. Because clearly Superman and Wonder Woman never had anything to be self conscious about and thus never had a reason to slouch.
I mention Superman and Wonder Woman not just because I like superheroes, but because each of us who live with mental illness can be superheroes. Sure, it is not as dramatic as catching a plane in the middle of a baseball stadium, but many of us living with mental illness are introverts who are just fine with not being center stage, thank you very much. But our battle with mental illness is just as much a struggle as any hero-villain combination out there. So we should all straighten up not just for better spinal health, but for better overall health, including mental. Because better posture will help us feel more confident and maybe one day we will actually be more confident. And mental illness will be banished to the phantom zone or something like that. That is my hope at least.