How much time do you spend sitting in the office each day? How frequently do you stand up from your chair each day at the office? Do you stand up each time you’re tired or stay sitting? The answers to these questions tell a lot about how our minds work, and a team of researchers from Radboud University are exploring the links between our minds and our sitting behavior in what they describe as the “psychology of sitting”
Sitting is often described as the new smoking, as prolonged sitting increases the risk of several health problems including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even psychological problems. However, this team of scientists has found that sitting – and standing up – appear to have deep-seated links to the subconscious mind.
The study team studied the sitting behavior of more than 150 people in their offices. The participants were equipped with activity sensors to monitor their sitting patterns for four consecutive days. The experiment examined how psychological processes such as fatigue, elation, and sadness influenced transitions between sitting and standing, and how interventions can be designed to leverage these findings to stimulate healthier sitting behaviors.
Why should all these matter to you? For one, be mindful of how much time you spend sitting in your office. A break now and then to stretch and “keep the blood flowing” yields healthy dividends.