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The Psychological Benefits of Standing Desks

Standing while working is not a new concept. Historical figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Winston Churchill all reportedly used standing desks. However, it wasn't until the 2010s that standing desks started to appear in the workplace, with scientific studies and anecdotal reports highlighting the physical benefits of using one. But can these sit-stand desks also help our mental health? Research seems to suggest so. In this article, we’ll share what you need to know about standing desks and how using one could benefit your mental health.

The Psychological Benefits of Standing Up 

Standing desks are an ideal solution for combating the sedentary lifestyle that has become common in many office environments. This is supported by numerous studies highlighting the physical health benefits of standing more and sitting less, including improved posture, reduced risk of back pain, lower blood pressure, and even the chance to build muscle. The psychological and mental health benefits are less (widely) discussed, but equally as good. These include...

1. Boosts Mood

Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to negative mood states, such as stress and depression. However, reducing sedentary behaviour—such as through standing up or exercise—has been shown to enhance mood and energy levels. This is because standing increases blood flow and the release of endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural mood booster—as well as other natural neural chemicals that boost your sense of wellness.

Movement and exercise can also help to refocus your mind on your body's movements, creating a distraction from what might be putting you in a negative mood state. And the science backs this up! A randomised control trial has found that office workers who use a standing desk recorded meaningful improvements in stress, wellbeing and energy levels.

In another 7-week study, participants using standing desks reported less stress and fatigue than those who remained seated the entire work day. In addition to this, 87% of those using standing desks reported increased vigour and energy levels. 

While standing on its own is beneficial, movement is even better. An under-desk treadmill can help increase the amount of steps you get in when you're working from home.

2. Improves Focus

It is thought that just 10 minutes of movement is all it takes to increase mental focus. If you're struggling to work or experiencing a mid-afternoon slump, standing up could be just what you need to get back in the zone.

When standing, blood circulation improves, which delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The presence of increased oxygen stimulates the brain, which can improve alertness, clarity, concentration and focus. A study published in the Association for Phycological Science supports this, concluding that standing up can enhance selective attention and cognitive control.

With increased focus comes better output. As well as increasing focus, standing desks have been linked to an increase in productivity levels. A study from the Texas A&M Health Science Centre School of Public Health reported that those with stand-capable workstations — in which the worker could raise or lower the desk to stand or sit as they wished — were 46% more productive than those with just seated desks.

For those with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), where focus might be hard even in ideal circumstances, moving and fidgeting with the help of a standing desk can help stimulate the brain's executive control processes and produce more dopamine, leading to improvements in focus.

3. Enhances Cognitive Performance 

As well as increasing your focus and productivity levels, standing up can improve cognitive performance. Findings published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which explored the neurocognitive benefits of sit-stand desks using four computerized tests to assess executive functions, indicated that continued use of standing desks was associated with significant improvements in executive function and working memory capabilities. 

Studies have also shown that standing up can stimulate neurogenesis, the process of generating new neurons in the brain which plays a crucial role in learning, memory, and cognitive suppleness. Indeed, another study found that standing up can enhance cognitive control and visual search due to the connections between body posture and cognitive mechanisms.

There is no one best time to stand at your desk. However, standing up during a particularly difficult task can make it easier to tackle.


For those new to standing desks, it is important to keep in mind that prolonged standing without proper support can lead to discomfort and potential health issues, including varicose veins, joint strain, foot and back pain. Make sure to rotate between sitting and standing positions and, when standing up, wear supportive footwear or use an anti-fatigue mat to alleviate strain.

In addition to this, make sure that your desk is set up at an ergonomic angle, that you sit (and stand) with proper posture, and that you rotate between sitting down and standing up to prevent fatigue and discomfort. 

In conclusion, the psychological and mental health benefits of standing desks make them a worthwhile investment for anyone looking to improve their work experience and overall mental health. However, as with any change, it is important to approach the transition to a standing desk with care; listen to your body and make adjustments as needed.

Looking for a standing desk for your home, office or workspace? Check out our full collection of standing desks, available for next working day delivery if ordered by 3pm. Our desks come with a 7 year warranty, 30 day risk free return, as well as access to a UK-based customer service team to answer any questions that you might have.

Need additional help choosing a standing desk? Get in contact with our expert team with any queries. 

Otherwise, our blog provides more useful tips on using a standing desk for a more balanced lifestyle. Feel free to contact us with any questions, with the handy live chat feature on our site, or via email at info@ergodesks.co.uk.