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A shot of blues ? Play volleyball or dance zumba! A surge of anger? Try out aikido or archery! Each state of mind has a corresponding physical activity that will help you tame it gently.

To be moved and to move. The two verbs, from Latin move, “To stir”, remind us that an emotion is a setting in motion. Anger makes us want to punch with fist, fear takes our breath away, sadness triggers tears, bitterness makes us think … Any restlessness of the soul changes the heartbeat, breathing, body temperature, hormonal secretions, blood pressure, muscle and brain activity, just like sports. This is why, when we are overwhelmed by a certain negativity, physical exercise can rebalance us.

“An emotion is quite fleeting. However, when it settles down permanently, it no longer plays its role of alarm, becomes a mood, then a temperament ”, explains the coach and trainer Ilios Kotsou. The act of making a decision or talking with strangers, are then governed by sadness, anger, fear or bitterness, states of mind that it is important to channel. The interest of sport is primarily physiological. Physical activity consumes the stress hormone cortisol, preventing it from consuming us. It produces endorphins, feel-good hormones that we need to not let our negative reactions rule our lives. It is also the bearer of values ​​conducive to adopting a better state of mind. “Passing the energy of the emotion through the body allows it to be expressed without necessarily seeking to control it. Then, we can observe it from another angle and give it meaning ”, assures the coach and martial arts master Karim Ngosso. Let’s move in a mind mindfulness, “In full awareness”. By developing a certain acuity of gesture, we open another channel of expression to transform our emotional life. Let’s identify the dominant emotion that colors our temperament, and let’s take advantage of the summer to try the most suitable physical activity: the one that pushes us to our limits to better develop ourselves. Do not forget to be attentive to the pleasure that this setting in motion gives us: good humor, physical ease, self-esteem, creativity, sociability. A thousand and one rays of sun.

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Ilios Kotsou is the co-author of Positive psychology, happiness in all its forms (Jouvence Éditions). His site:


Cultivate enthusiasm!

The false good idea. Getting to salsa with strangers. Forcing yourself not to be sad is essential to rediscover the flavor of joy, but it is better to be coached or accompanied by loved ones so as not to feel too out of step in a playful atmosphere, at the risk of getting bored quickly.

What you need. Action and contact, because sadness tends to engender immobility and withdrawal into oneself. It is not a question of “shaking yourself off”, but rather of forcing yourself “to” enter the dance “and to let yourself be carried away by the communicative smile of your partners. An activity that allows you to accept the Imperfection and the distribution of responsibilities will prove to be beneficial for those who tend to take refuge in depression and to belittle themselves.

What sports? Take advantage of the sun and the beach to improvise family beach volleyball games. Returning the ball leaves little respite (jumps, movements) and creates a bond within the team – in principle, this is played two against two. You can also try skipping rope with your children for fun. Physical activities with music, such as zumba ( or the Swedish gym (, are also invigorating and fun. Why not join two. For jogging enthusiasts – in the long term, this sport is more effective than an antidepressant – summer is an opportunity to practice in the great outdoors with friends who run at the same pace as you.


Develop compassion

The false good idea. Sprint, boxing or squash. The punching bag strategy is to let off steam (cathartic strategy) or to take your mind off things (work around the problem). Effective at the time, aggressive gesticulation does not soothe or deeply modify an angry temperament.

What you need. “An activity that takes back the energy of anger but which expresses it without violence, by self-controlling so as to go with and no longer against”, proposes Ilios Kotsou. Preferably choose a discipline for two or in a group, because the antidote to anger is respectful exchange, benevolence … Fair play, in sporting terms! Another ingredient to favor: mastery of breathing, which, during anger, tends to compress the rib cage and accelerate.

What sports? An external martial art like aikido. His philosophy is empathetic, and the objective of combat is to destroy the attack, not the attacker. In the same vein, the kinomichi mixes the tradition of aikido and the western approaches of “well-being” gyms (Feldenkrais and others). Kyudo, Japanese archery (, reconciles individual mastery of movement and respect for others (generally, a group of five archers performs in unison). The objective of the “way of the arc”? Harmonize body, mental and emotional postures. More individual oriental gyms, such as yoga, qigong or tai chi, are beneficial as long as you have already worked on your anger. Otherwise, this face-to-face with oneself can quickly annoy and make you give up the activity.

The fear

Build your self-confidence

The false good idea. Parachute or bungee jumping, or paragliding. Defying your fear with an activity that is too radical can be traumatic and, conversely, reinforce a restless temperament.

What you need. A sporting experience that confronts one’s fears while ensuring safety. “You have to choose an activity that promotes courage and surpassing oneself. It is also important to carry out the technical gestures yourself”, advises Ilios Kotsou. No question of playing the role of passive team member. Grabbing the reins strengthens the sense of responsibility and makes people aware that, while it is difficult to control everything in life, everyone has the resources within them to find a solution.

What sports? Climbing or via ferrata, because the body evolves in an unusual way: vertically and on a rock. We expose ourselves to the fear of heights, therefore to the threat of falling, while being (r) assured by the rope and by the person holding it. A school of confidence in oneself and in others. Just like sports playing on imbalance and speed: sailing, rafting or horse riding. As long as you do not have an excessive phobia of water or horses. “A contact sport like Brazilian jiu-jitsu ( allows you to apprehend fear in general, suggests Karim Ngosso. To find yourself flat with your back to the ground under the body of another causes a feeling of helplessness and invites to tap into its own faculties to find serenity. ”


Learn to marvel again

The false good idea : The walk with confidants who are too compassionate or themselves animated with resentment. “Corumination” nourishes negative moods.

What you need. A cheerful social environment. An activity source of pleasure, admiration, gratitude for all that life has to offer. “In bitterness, there is a frustration linked to a feeling of injustice. And a dissatisfaction produced by the fact that we feel powerless to find what has been lost, ”notes Ilios Kotsou. Disappointment, regret, sadness, anger, shame, bitterness mixes several emotions. To rediscover a taste for others and for wonder, you have to decenter yourself, accept your share of vulnerability and let yourself be touched by the beauty of the world.

What sports? “An activity that is part of a project, such as running for a medical or humanitarian cause”, encourages Karim Ngosso. This gives meaning to one’s efforts and makes it possible to discover unsuspected capacities of altruism in oneself and in others. “Or Nordic walking to be practiced within a group, carrying a positive energy which reflects on oneself”, he continues. Nature recreation awakens sensoriality. When hiking, taking pictures helps change the angle from which we are used to looking at our surroundings. Another contemplative experience, diving, practiced together for safety reasons, allows you to reconnect with the idea of ​​cooperation. Like snorkeling, or PMT (fins, mask, snorkel), an underwater ride that changes your landmarks and forces you to get out of your comforting reflexes. An immersive experience in a poetic universe that any swimmer is generally eager to share.

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Test yourself !

What is your sporting profile? To reconnect with your body and stay in shape, to each their own method. Some take up yoga, others swear by the step in the gym. It’s a question of temperament. There is no shortage of disciplines to channel your energy, calm down or curl up in music. Discover yours by establishing your sport profile


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