How Rounded Shoulders are Linked to Workplace Stress and What to do About It

People in high responsibility office jobs often spend a lot of time seated in an office chair. 

They sit in such a way where the head shifts in front of the spine, the upper back becomes curved, and the shoulders are rounded in a forward position.

This puts the upper body out of alignment and affects the way you breath and puts the body into a stressed state called Sympathetic Dominance.

This is where the body’s system automatic operating system works in overdrive leading to symptoms such as poor sleep, release of the hormone cortisol in response to stress, breathing issues and pain.

Click here to learn more about rounded shoulders and poor posture and their effect on your health.

What causes rounded shoulders to occur?

It can come from sitting in a chair for long periods of time in a poor/incorrect position, poor sitting posture, carrying a heavy bag, increase use of lap top computers, smart phones and tablets.

It can also be caused by a muscle imbalance brought about by working the chest and core muscles more than those in the upper back.

What can be done to manage this better and prevent it from occurring.

If you in the office when sitting in a chair. Take note of how you are sitting and make the adjustments to maintain good posture.

Good Posture:                               Bad Posture:

  • Back Straight                       – Back Bent
  • Knees Bent            – Knees Straight
  • Neck Straight                       – Neck Bent
  • Head Relaxed                      – Head Rigid                                        

If You are at Home

Utilise the Healthy Joints Equal Mobile Joints Program as part of the 6P Program focused on the Thoracic (Upper Back) and Shoulder Areas. 

Remember the 3 Rules are to loosen the area, massage it then stretch it.

For example, when focusing on the thoracic area:

  1. Loosen the upper back by using dynamic movements such as Horizontal Arm Swings

2. Use a foam roller and/or a trigger point therapy ball to massage the upper back with a middle and upper back release.

3. Stretch out the Upper Back with a Thoracic Stretch.

Managing Stress through Standing Meditation and Stretching

In this day and age, mental health and stress can have a negative impact on your work life and professional life. 

There are so many demands on people’s time and they overcommit themselves to doing many things at once in order to be seen as being efficient in the work place and appeasing people in their personal lives.

How it all Starts

It all starts out small by taking on more commitments at work, socially and at home.  At first, you will notice that you are getting great results and people will start to take notice and say good things about you.

Promotions will come and more will be expected of you, the extra things you do will now be excepted as the norm.

You will find that with having more to do, you will have less time to complete each task.  Instead of prioritising what is important and needs to be done first, you start multi-tasking in order to become more efficient and the quality of your work begins to suffer.  

Anxiety starts to creep in and you feel that you are not performing up to standard.

Before you know it, stress starts to impact on your workplace performance and home life in a negative manner. 

Symptoms will include, uncontrolled outbursts, feelings of hopelessness and loneliness, loss of appetite, increase in the consumption of processed junk food, weight gain and the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Before you know it you have to take leave from your work because you have ruined your two most important assets, your mental and physical health.

What Can You Do About It?

  • Acknowledge you have a problem.
  • Talk to someone about it.
  • Get help.
  • Develop a strategy to help cope with stress.

The Coping Strategy

The coping strategy that can be used is to use standing meditation first thing in the morning to clear and energise the mind to better prepare you for the start of the day. 

Then there is a night time routine where you relax the body and mind by having a protein shake, a shower then a 10-15 minute stretch combined with slow deep breathing before you go to bed. 

Click here for further information on an article that mentions the health benefits of Zhan Zhuang.

This is designed to slowdown and relax the body and mind, ensure the body has nutrients so that you recover and replenish your energy levels for the next day.

Try this routine for 3 weeks and see how it makes a positive impact on workplace performance and managing stress, clearing the mind and recovery.

Click here to learn about the health benefits of stretching.

Let me know what you think about this article?