What Running Does To Your Problems And Emotions

As someone who takes health and exercise seriously (though there are times when I fall back and indulge), physical exercise at least four times weekly is a must-do for me. My main form of exercise include jogging and at times, circuits, however I attempt weights on other occasions.

Besides keeping my health and energy level in check, I find that I have over the last few years, unknowingly chose running for a different reason;

as an outlet or release of my pent-up emotions.

In the past, whenever I was feeling down, angry, sad, frustrated, restless or unhappy, I would always choose to hide in my room. When the emotions got too huge to handle, there were also times when I threw things, banged tables, shouted into the pillows and even cried myself to sleep but I would still wake up wretched.

These days, when I felt emotionally and mentally strapped with the same type of emotions, I would find myself donning my running gear and head out my problem-sorting walk which would eventually break into run. While trying to walk it out, I would be having negative thoughts and emotions on what I’ve done wrong with feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, blaming myself or asking questions like why I can’t get what I don’t have. However, after a while, the mind begins to recall the better things I’ve experienced and I start to remember times when I have overcome difficult situations and refocus on how far I’ve come and things I’ve done right. Then, I would realize that I was actually focusing on the present issues on hand, without realizing that I have been planting seeds of future that have yet to sprout. I was fretting over the fertilizers and bigger pots while the seeds are germinating.

At times when I felt heavily burdened and the walks could not lift my mood up, this was when walks eventually turn into runs. Before I started running, my legs would feel heavy and it may seem like there are more I should be worrying about and doing instead of running. However, what I eventually realized are priceless.

Endorphin + Fresh Air Beat the Blues

Just getting into action lifts this hormone that we all have in us. After a workout, Endorphin released trigger this positive feeling in us while we feel energized. Stress and anxiety lessen too.
Cooping up ourselves at home or indoors make us feel stifled. Being out there with the fresh air almost instantaneously helps clear the mind.

Running Does Not Mean Running Away From Problems

Technically, I was running and as I run, my mind starts wandering, but it is precisely because of this, I was able to take my mind off it for a moment while I struggled to catch my next breath with every stride.

Pulling my focus away from the subject matter for the time being allowed me to view the problem from a different angle. Almost every time, instead of running away from the problems, it lets me deal with my problems head on.

Realize How Far I’ve Come Along + Not Giving Up + Keep Going

It feels heavy when the walk turn into the run initially. After a few minutes, there would be this urge to stop running and get back to complaining or moaning about my problems. However, as I pushed on and kept running, I began to accept the pace and momentum. Sometimes I would even run faster then my usual pace to get my heartbeat up and adrenaline running perhaps because it makes me feel more alive and more productive at the end of the run. After several miles, I came to realize the distance I have covered and the initial resistance I have overcame.

Then I realized how far I have come along from when I started learning to be independent, and that I have been overcoming my challenges just by doing what I needed to do. I realized the power I have over myself which I have not been able to ‘see’ initially. When I get buried with current problems, they seem insurmountable, but time and again, I have tackled, went around and surpassed these problems to arrive at where I am today. Time and again, I thought this was it, that I couldn’t do it anymore, but I did.

As long as we keep going and do what we need to, we will find a way out, eventually.

I’m not giving up.

Gaining Clarity and Refocus

During the run, it is usually quite impossible to keep focused on just one act or thought, when the mind tend to wander. One moment we could be focusing on the breathing, the next moment it could be our steps, the scenery or back to the issues that was bugging us.

Instead of keeping our attention to that one matter bugging us, taking our mind off it lets us come back to the matter with more clarity as we revisit it more objectively the next time we think about it. We get to re-adjust our focus towards the solution instead. During this time, we also get to look within ourselves and perhaps we might even find the answer and direction we are seeking from within. Perhaps we might find that we have been over-thinking or over-complicating issues, or it could be that we missed out on certain areas of consideration, sometimes even finding the courage to acknowledge that it was our mistakes and take measures moving forward so we don’t repeat them again.

“I have POWER over myself which I may not see now” (ClickToTweet)

Concluding Thoughts

I went out for my problem-sorting walk last night which as usual, turned into a run, and I did come back feeling better, heartened, more optimistic and relaxed than I was in the afternoon. I was able to communicate more effectively and I was more forgiving towards my family despite my own issues.

Why I value running so much in spite of the boring routes, hard pavements and repeating scenery on most days is due to the fact that it is more than just physical exercise. Running is like a safe haven to me where I retreat to and escape from reality for a bit especially human interruptions. It is where I do my mental and emotional cleansing (sometimes with quiet tears rolling off my face). It is where I learned to dump and clear my thoughts, reflect and review, as well as to gain objective view of my emotions and issues. It also where I find out about my limits and push myself to break these limits just by extending every step and not stopping. Running has helped me not only in my weight and health, and also my life.

For me, my form of exercise is running. It may be different from yours. Some prefer shooting hoops, doing circuits, swimming or trekking even. Do you have an exercise which means more to you than just getting fit and healthy? If you have, please do share with us what workout do you do and how it has helped you.

Originally published at l3hub.org.