Three Simple Hacks to My Environment I Rely on to Fix My Awful Posture
It all started in high school. I thought I was being cool by slumping my head, dropping my shoulders, and walking around looking at the floor. But one day, I was sitting with a good friend of mine and she said: “you should sit up, you have bad posture”. The comment hasn’t left my mind since.
It was a wake-up call for me. Not just to stop being cool at the expense of my neck and shoulders, but to fix my posture. If I could fix it now, I would always have good posture and I know it would be a sign of good health and a great confidence booster.
Every day, I work hard to sit up, stand tall, and otherwise try to fix my posture. It’s a constant battle to fix my years of awful posture throughout high school (and even university and beyond). Besides trying to be mindful of my posture and fix it whenever I realize I am going back to my old ways, I figured out ways to hack my environment to force me into good posture. Let me explain:
In the car
I try to have good practices when I’m driving. That means not speeding because I can, using the mirrors all the time, doing shoulder checks even though I might be the only car on the road for miles and looking both ways before proceeding through an intersection even if it is the middle of the night and there can’t possibly be pedestrians.
I noticed that my body positions itself to allow my eyes to see through the rearview mirror properly. So I thought: why not adjust the mirror higher than normal so I am forced to sit up straight? And that’s what I do in my car — every time I drive, I adjust the rearview mirror so that if I’m not sitting up straight, I can’t see behind me properly.
Around the house
Hat tip to Vanessa Van Edwards for making me aware of this bad posture position. What happens whenever you use your smartphone? You have your phone in your hands and you crane your head downwards to look at it.
Did you know there are apps on the smartphone that can notify you if you are using your smartphone at a ‘bad posture’ angle? That’s what I did — I have an app on my phone that reminds me of when I’m craning my neck down. I hate swiping away unrelated notifications when I’m trying to do things on my phone so this is a great way to build better phone habits (i.e., if I use my phone at the right angle, I don’t get those notifications).
Lately, I’ve discovered that I have bad posture in bed. I know that seems hard to do because all you do in bed is lie down, but I have been finding myself scrunched up under the covers with my shoulders and neck drooped rather than stretching out as if I am standing straight when I’m awake. It’s small, but for me, as I’m trying to improve my posture, it’s noticeable.
Although a little more challenging to do, there is one trick I used to help my posture when I’m lying down: I adjust my pillow like my rearview mirror in the car. In my bed, I will shift down to the foot of the bed, and I will make sure that I’m ‘standing up straight’ to reach the pillow at the head of the bed. Since I rarely shift up and down during my sleep, and I can’t sleep unless my head is on a pillow, I force myself to lie straight to ‘reach’ my pillow.
There you have it! Three simple tricks — I call them forcing functions — to help improve your posture. Again, they are:
- Adjusting your rearview mirror so that you are sitting up straight
- Using an app to remind you on your smartphone
- Adjusting your pillow (and your body) so that you have to lie straight to reach the pillow with your head