We all know that good posture is integral to how we look and feel. Bad posture affects our mood, our outlook on life and it can cause other complications.

Here are 7 ways that bad posture can negatively impact our health and what we can do about it:

(1) Can Worsen Depression – Naturally how we hold our bodies will affect our mood and how we feel. Try walking around for 5 or 10 minutes in a slouched over position and pay attention to how you feel. Improve your posture and you’ll immediately boost your mood and outlook on life.

(2) Can Affect how Others View You – If you walk around with your head down and shoulders slumped all the time, others will see you as being in less than perfect health. They may not respect you as much – this is especially so in the workplace.

(3) Can Cause Sluggish Digestion – Sitting with bad posture causes your intestines to be in a folded position, which can slow down digestion, causing it to be sluggish. Both yoga and pilates are great ways to improve digestion and perk up a sluggish gut.

(4) Increases the Risk of Death & Disease – Sitting (with bad posture) really is the new smoking. Studies show that sitting can increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease AND reduces overall life expectancy. For every hour you sit, stand up and move your body and stretch for at least 5 minutes.

(5) It can Make you Look Like you Weigh More than you do – Sitting for long periods of time pushes our internal organs quite literally down and out. They have nowhere else to go. Very simply, move more and sit less.

(6) It Cuts off your Circulation – Ever sat for a long period of time only to stand up quickly and realize your entire leg is asleep? Prolonged sitting can cut off blood flow, increase blood pressure and cause varicose veins. Try any of these 2 minutes yoga poses right at your desk to immediately improve circulation.

(7) It Stresses you Out! – A recent study from Harvard showed that people who adopted powerful postures (open shoulders and straight spines) had a 20% increase in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in cortisol levels—but people who slouched had a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 15% increase in cortisol. That means low self-confidence and high stress. The other problem is restricted breathing, which makes stress work. This can turn into a vicious cycle where shallow breathing makes stress worse, and stress makes shallow breathing worse. Try this: Sit up tall with one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. As you inhale, feel your belly expand like a balloon filling with air. As you exhale, feel your belly flatten. Try not to breathe into the hand on your chest. Check in with yourself from time to time to ensure you’re breathing properly, especially when sitting for long periods of time.