For a while now, research has found how exercise can help reduce stress (Berger & Owen, 1988). There are many ways we can increase our levels of physical activity, whether it is daily life changes or taking advantage of resources on campus. So use this week as an excuse to experience what Harvard has to offer, even if that means walking everywhere and enjoying the time. Check out some of Harvard Medical School’s tips on how exercising helps relieve stress!
How this week works:
1) Try 5 new types of exercise this week*
Get CREATIVE with your new exercises. You can even try having a short dance party study break a la Jimmy Fallon and the FLOTUS – but make sure you actually take the time to put everything down and do it!
2) Walk/bike everywhere – no elevators or shuttles
Quadlings and Matherites: try to limit yourself to one shuttle ride a day (but only if absolutely necessary! The goal is to challenge yourself. Plan ahead and walk if you can!)
*Ideas for new types of exercise, all offered at Harvard:
Check out what group exercise classes the MAC (here) and Hemenway (here) have to offer this semester — this will make trying new exercises more manageable!
We’re excited to have you on board with us !
It might sound tedious, but here’s the thing:
There is a growing body of evidence that talking or writing about emotional experiences as opposed to suppressing them actually promotes physical and psychological health (for reviews, see Pennebaker, 1989, 1997; Smyth, 1998). If you instead find yourself ruminating about negative experiences or problems, this is linked to increased depressive symptoms (Treynor, Gonzalez, Nolen-Hoeksema, 2003).
Conclusion: IT’S GOOD FOR YOU
Starting tomorrow (or today if you are hardcore), complete a daily “journal entry” in one of the following formats:
- One highlight from the day (brownie points if you decide to do it in the form of a haiku)
- Habits (exercise, amount of sleep, vitamins, emotions, health)
- 5 things you are grateful for
- Free writing
Feel free to spend as little or as much time as you want journaling. This could mean as little as two minutes!