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How to align your body to become happier

Remembering to stand tall and keep your shoulders back can improve your confidence and mood.
/ Source: TODAY

While you may know that exercising, certain foods and loving relationships contribute to feeling happy, did you know proper posture can also make you feel good?

Pretend you’re crying. How does your posture look? Typically, you’re hunched over, head in your hands, shoulders rounded forward, chest collapsed and obviously not in the best mood. On the other hand, when you’re excited or opening up to give someone a big hug, your chest is lifted, your arms are open, your shoulders are back and you’re standing tall and proud.

What if you could align your physical body, rather than have your emotions dictate how you sit and stand? In other words, wouldn’t it be nice to have a few postural cues you could regularly follow to help you attain that happy, confident posture?

First, let’s get a clear picture of what good posture looks like. “Good posture is when your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles align in one straight line. When you look in the mirror, you should look like you are serving in the military,” said Dr. David Tannenbaum, a Beverly Hills-based chiropractor. This will help you stand taller and walk with more confidence.

To practice good posture every day, follow these instructions: First, while standing or sitting, bring the shoulders up towards the ears, and then back, then down, as if you’re doing a backwards shoulder roll. Then, arch your upper back by puffing your chest out. Next, pull your navel in towards your spine so that your lower ribs draw down. This will bring the arch in your back into a neutral position. Slightly lift your chin, keep your abs engaged and smile.

Take a look in the mirror to make sure your ears are over your shoulders, and your shoulders are over your hips.

While this may feel uncomfortable at first, that's normal. All change is a bit uncomfortable to start. Practice this multiple times a day and remember that you’re in charge of your emotions and happiness!

For more simple tips to improve your life, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter. Stephanie Mansour is a lifestyle and weight-loss coach for women. Join her complimentary weight-loss challenge here!