Raising your shoulder while you are doing everyday activities can be wholly unconscious. And it can even become the new "normal". Many a time I remember in a Tai Chi class being told to drop my shoulder (hunched around my ears) ...and always thinking " BUT it is down". I´m not talking about rounded shoulders, or falling forward shoulders...we can get onto that in another day! A permanently raised shoulder leads to tightened muscles and soreness on that side and a curve in your spine and neck away from the shoulder.. not a great posture!
So what are the activities that lead us to bringing one shoulder up? Let's look at four, and look at their solutions.
Carrying a handbag or satchel
The heavier your bag is the more you are going to automatically compensate for the weight by pulling your shoulder up and leaning over to the other side. If you don't believe me go out with a friend/partner/child and walk behind them and have a look!
Solution: lighten your bag, carry a cross strap back or rucksack, or while walking look into the shop window reflections and self correct by bringing your shoulder down.
Driving a car
You may find your right shoulder high in the air, while your left elbow rests on the arm rest.
Solution: Place both hands at 10 to 2 on the wheel, drop your shoulders and keep your elbows down and loose. Check your posture/position in the windscreen reflection or ask your passengers to tell you.
Moving your mouse while at your computer
As you move your mouse across the tracking pad and away from you , more than likely you are bringing your elbow out and your shoulder up. Have a look at someone working nearby, or ask someone to look at you while you work and you´ll see what I mean,
Solution: Drop your shoulders, and your elbows, bring your elbows in to your side and keep them there, move the upper body now as one unit.
Side lying sleeping
It's very easy to fall asleep in this position with your shoulder hunched up high and neck and head poorly supported.
Solution: click to see a short 1 minute video showing you how to remedy this. https://www.youtube.com/shorts/cZ0DSMX6JcQ
How do you know if your shoulders are raised?
It's quite hard to tell, as our tense stance feels "normal".But you can try this easy technique to get you off to a good start. Sit straight in a chair, or from standing, bring both shoulders up to your ears, breathe in deeply, bring them even higher (you may feel some soreness of the muscles tensing in the base of your neck), hold for a few seconds , then breathe out quickly and drop your shoulders suddenly.
Lastly, and for something completely new and different! Here is a link here for a new festival in Barcelona in July, the Festival of Consciousness, it aims to foster a shared vision of a more conscious world, through talks, classes, and activities. There are early bird prices until June 1st for anyone interested follow the link https://thefestivalofconsciousness.org/en/en-programa/