Grounding a global body

iStock_000005066220SmallHaving a physical body doesn’t necessarily mean fully living in that body. Our untrained minds and emotions often take over and this is a high cost for expats, who want to experience a new land and culture. Many of my clients have intense work schedules, which leave little room for body awareness, self-care, and relaxation. They often struggle to find time to be present with the very thing that carried them across the globe: the physical body.

What parts of your body do you sense right now? One, two, more than that? Were you aware of their presence in the moment you started reading this blog, or was the question a reminder? Try this experiment: Read the next paragraph sensing your right arm. Then, read the following paragraph sensing both arms. Include another body part to finish reading this blog. See if this creates any difference in your experience.

There are many ways in which our bodies change due to an international assignment. I am going to discuss two of them: Eating and exercise. One of the most common is engaging in a different diet in a new country either by choice or “compulsorily,” depending upon the food system in that country. Choosing what to eat and drink is an active part of co-creating your body. Bodies are intelligent and constantly communicate. Most global executives seem surprised when I say that the change they are undergoing is happening on a cellular level.  The fuel that you need for high performance comes directly from what you eat, so choose carefully.

Another important consideration is how often expats exercise. Beyond fitness purposes, some of the benefits of exercising are to get us in touch with our solidity, our muscles, flexibility and physical strength. Otherwise, the mind is developed at the expense of the body being neglected. Without conscious intent, many of us go throughout the day being carried around by bones and flesh. Sporadically, we notice parts of our bodies mostly for functional reasons.

So, what are the practical implications of eating well and frequently exercising to your daily routine at the office? For instance, the choices you make about building your body relates directly to the way you show up in business meetings. Just take low and high-energy as an example. Both are directly related to the amount of sugar one consumes and how sedentary or active one’s life is.

A grounded body starts simply with a deeper breath. Expansion and contraction are both happening all the time through breathing. Furthermore, by practicing going back over and over to body parts and sensations you become aware of inhabiting a form. This planet, our countries, and our bodies are all temporary homes. Whatever your geographic location may be, dedicate time to create a healthy environment for your body. Do the best you can and be ready to receive feedback from your body and from people around you.