Photographs: Céline Martin-Pedersen
Text: Kathy Borys Siddiqui
Good News, everyone - get moving to manage your stress. Yes, it is true! A bit of movement each day will help ease the level of stress. Who would say no to a brighter and more energized day?
A sure way to boost our international lives It comes as no surprise that there is a strong connection between the mind and the body. As Internationals, we often face stressful situations. According to mayoclinic.org physical activity boosts endorphins which are “your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters” and takes your mind off daily stress. Many have become familiar with the term “runner’s high - when we experience the rush of endorphins. The truth of the matter is that you do not have to run a half-marathon distance to experience this. All you have to do is something that you enjoy (walking, tennis, running, biking) and take in the abundance that is right outside your front door. Why is movement so effective in taking the stress away? Because we shift the focus, we concentrate on being active and how this activity makes us feel. We are not multitasking or focusing on stress activators; instead, we allow our brains to rest. The mental benefits of physical activity have a neurochemical basis “Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenalin and cortisol” as stated by health.harvard.edu
The result, after being active is an increase in energy and usually a big smile. If mediation is not your cup of tea, then the physical activity is a great way to meditate in motion. Exercise in any form instantly invigorates the mind - it is like popping a spearmint chewing gum in your mouth. Activity not only takes away negative emotions, feeling of sluggishness, and irritability, but it compensates with clarity, creativity, and vitality. Who could say no to that?
A sure way to lift your spirits is to put your trainers on and put some pep in your step.
"Exercise in any form instantly invigorates the mind - it is like popping a spearmint chewing gum in your mouth."
Adopt good habits and thrive
One of the first things I address in the workshops I facilitate is that as Internationals, we need to have balance in our lives. This is the framework for a fulfilled life. Good habits are the building blocks. What does that mean? As a spouse/partner, it is vital that you acknowledge your needs and what gives you joy and then implement those. A morning routine is a great place to start since mornings often set the tone for the rest of the day.
Truthfully, beginnings are always challenging, and setting forth realistic aims usually works best. To successfully get through the beginning stages of implementing new habits structure is strongly recommended. In order to achieve this aim, it is best to choose a time that fits best with our schedule where we know we will not be distracted and then simply doing it. The more we stick to our good habits, the more they will become a part of daily life. The benefits are unquestionable. When we start the day with a series of activities that we enjoy, things are bound to get better. Good habits do not have to take a long time. It can be having a cup of coffee while reading a few pages of a book, journaling, short meditation, and of course, physical activity. Not everyone is a morning person, and including physical activity might happen later in the day. The good habits and especially physical activity, bring about an increase in energy, clarity, a positive mood, as well as creative and result-oriented actions. Some days will be easier than others, but once you give it a try and become friends with perseverance, the results will leave you wanting more.