You’ve heard that sitting too much is bad for your health, mainly because the lack of movement translates to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions. To add insult to injury, it turns out that spending your day hunched over a computer also has major ramifications for your mental wellbeing.

The issue: Poor posture can put you in a lousy mood and make you feel more stressed and depressed.

“We’re a very forward-leaning society—we drive forward, lean forward, slouch over our desks all day,” says William Smith, an exercise physiologist in Morristown, New Jersey and co-author of Exercises for Perfect Posture. You probably spend a lot of time craning your neck over your smartphone, too.

Read more: 12 Types of Depression, and What You Need to Know About Each

No evidence proves that poor posture directly causes serious problems like clinical depression and anxiety. But a number of studies have suggested that it may exacerbate the symptoms of these disorders. Even if your mental health is generally solid, there are good reasons to think that you’d be happier—and healthier—if you simply sat and stood up straighter.

Here are three ways improving your posture can improve your emotional health, and exactly how to do it so you begin scoring the benefits.

You’ll feel happier and more energetic

“Over time, sustained slumped-forward posture creates unnecessary stress and strains your spine,” says Steven D’Ambroso, a physical therapist with Professional Physical Therapy in New York. “That can make you feel heavy and achy, which leads to being tired and irritable.”

Read more: 14 Reaons You’re Always Tired

This isn’t just a theory; research has actually verified the connection between poor posture and fatigue, especially in people who have depression. One study, published last year in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, found that patients with mild to moderate depression felt more alert after simply keeping their back and shoulders upright while sitting. They also reported less anxiety.

Another study, published in the journal Biofeedback, came to a similar conclusion: Participants who slouched while walking felt more depressed. When they shifted to a more upright position, their outlook and energy levels increased.

You’ll get a confidence boost

When you want to project a confident and comfortable persona (like on a job interview or first date) your stance is key. “If you carry yourself in a certain way”—shoulders back, abdomen in, spine aligned—”it exudes confidence and an affable demeanor,” says Smith. The converse is also true: Just picture a sullen teenager whose slouchy posture instantly conveys a sense of apathy.

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