How Good Posture Can Boost Your Confidence When You Need it Most

iStock
iStock

Purveyors of self-help are constantly reminding us to be aware of our body language when meeting someone new. Recent scientific research suggests that our posture doesn’t just affect how others see us, though—it also alters how we see ourselves.

As Quartz reports, a new study published in the journal NeuroRegulation found that college students felt more comfortable and confident in their ability to answer simple math problems when they sat up straight. Of the 125 participants, 56 percent reported that it was easier to solve subtraction problems in their head while seated in an upright position as opposed to being slumped over.

This was particularly true for people who indicated in a questionnaire that they doubted their mathematic ability, according to lead author Erik Peper, a professor of health education at San Francisco State University. "For people who are anxious about math, posture makes a giant difference," Peper said in a statement. "The slumped-over position shuts them down and their brains do not work as well. They cannot think as clearly."

Researchers say this is because slumping is a “defensive posture” that can trigger negative memories—something that people with anxieties may already be sensitive to. Students’ posture affected how they felt about the math activity rather than the performance itself, but good posture could help people relax while taking tests or participating in other anxiety-inducing activities, like interviews.

Good posture could also potentially give athletes, musicians, public speakers, and other performers a confidence boost. In addition, good posture is associated with a number of other health benefits, and has been proven to be better for your muscles, joints, and ligaments. Bad posture, on the other hand, has been linked to tension headaches, back pain, reduced lung capacity, arthritic joints, digestive problems, and a slew of other ailments.

So the next time you’re feeling anxious or insecure, sit up straight and hold your head up high. There may be something to the “fake it 'til you make it” approach after all.

[h/t Quartz

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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These Are America's 20 Happiest States

Natalya Zaritskaya, Unsplash
Natalya Zaritskaya, Unsplash

Personal happiness is subjective, but there are many factors that contribute to someone's well-being. Income, sleep habits, and work-life balance are a few examples. By gauging how these factors affect people across the country, WalletHub was able to put together a map ranking the happiest states in the U.S. in 2020.

To compile the list below, the personal finance website determined how all 50 states performed in three categories: emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and community and environment. These three labels cover more than 30 specific criteria, including divorce rates, unemployment rates, adequate sleep levels, and average work hours.

Hawaii tops the list, earning a total score of 69.58 out of a possible 100. It ranks second in emotional and physical well-being and third in community and environment. Just behind The Aloha State is Utah, which beats out all other states when it comes to work environment. Minnesota, New Jersey, and Maryland round out the top five. You can read the full list of America's 20 happiest states below.

Judging happiness levels by state is just one way to view the country's mental health. For an even more localized snapshot of happiness across the U.S., check out the country's happiest cities.

  1. Hawaii
  2. Utah
  3. Minnesota
  4. New Jersey
  5. Maryland
  6. California
  7. North Dakota
  8. Iowa
  9. Idaho
  10. Connecticut
  11. Nebraska
  12. South Dakota
  13. Massachusetts
  14. Virginia
  15. Washington
  16. Vermont
  17. New York
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Nevada
  20. Arizona