Introducing: The iSlouch

Originally published on YOGANONYMOUS — January 14, 2016 

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Did you know there's an app that almost everyone has, and you don't even have to download it?

If you're standing in a crowded room, doctor's office, train station, or hallway take a look around, and you'll most likely figure it out quickly. If you find yourself still wondering 'what is this new app!?' We'll clue you in: This new “app” takeover is none other than the "iSlouch"—the position most, if not all, electronic device users assume when they are being sucked into the vortex of the electronic displaybefore them. It might look a bit like this.

OK, so it's not really an app—but it does come free with your electronic device! All too often people on their phones, tablets, and even laptops are so incredibly engrossed in what they're doing, and what they're looking at, that they lose all focus on their posture. We already know how important posture is for your health, and, really, for your overall comfort as well. According to Fast Companywhen you're in the iSlouch position a lot of unnecessary weight falls on your neck: “about 60 pounds' worth when we bend our necks at a 60-degree angle.” Ouch! 

On top of impacting our physical health, research shows that poor posture can have an effect on one's confidence, self-esteem, assertiveness, and even memory. Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, presented a TED talk in 2012, "Your body language shapes who you are," that focused on the effects of posture on self-esteem and hormones. She stresses about the power of posture and overall body language: scientists have spent a lot of time looking at the effects of our body language, or other people's body language, on judgments. And we make sweeping judgments and inferences from body language. And those judgments can predict really meaningful life outcomes like who we hire or promote, who we ask out on a date.

And in speaking about the power of posture and making changes to it, Amy says, "...if you learn to tweak this a little bit, it could significantly change the way your life unfolds." That's definitely something to think about. What's your body language really saying when you're hunched over your phone?

Amy, along with Maarten Bos, continued to delve deeper in finding correlations between posture and electronic devices, and its effect on psyche; together they conducted a study, "iPosture: The Size of Electronic Consumer Devices Affects our Behavior,” published in 2013 in the Harvard Business School Working Paper. 

The study analyzed the effect of different sizes of devices (iPod Touch, iPad, MacBook, and iMac) on posture, and its link with “psychological power." The conclusion supported the researchers' hypothesis, that “participants who worked on smaller devices behaved less assertively.” That is to say that those in the deeper iSlouch (poor posture) position were most effected. 

So, for goodness sake, bring your devices to eye level and sit up straight. Or, better yet (!), put your phone/tablet/laptop AWAY and take in the world before you. And guess what? You could probably even pick your nose with abandon because the vast majority of people around you will still be looking down. 
Eyes up, chin up—find your power-posture stance—and take on the world confidently, assertively, and head-on. 

Do you keep your head up, or are you always looking down? Put your phone aside for a while and share how you feel in the comments below.


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