The Mysterious Ways Trail Running Can Overhaul Mental Health

Venture off the road and let your feet guide you out of your head

Joseph Dalton
New Writers Welcome

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A photo of the author after a very hilly 7.2-mile loop in the hills of Northern Kentucky

When I look back at the darkest time of my life, it wasn't the gym that saved me. It wasn't the 60 minutes of daily meditation. It wasn't my clean diet. It wasn't Muay Thai classes or therapy sessions. These things helped, yes. Ultimately it was trail running that reset my mind and excavated hope from the caverns of my mind. By hitting the trails two or three times per week, I rebuilt the wobbly, compromised foundation of my mind.

I hired Craig Ballantyne as my business coach a few years ago. Craig once wrote a book entitled "Unstoppable," which centered on overcoming anxiety. The following words stuck with me.

“Action beats anxiety. Motion beats meditation. Work beats worry.”

Trail running is like meditation in motion. Meditation has undoubtedly transformed my life. Sometimes nothing beats it. But if you're in a dark place, running in nature might be the antidote you didn't know you needed.

It's not a huge stretch to say that it saved me from slipping into a darker place multiple times. The difference between my mental state before and after a trail run is the difference between Ohio weather in late February and mid-April.

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Joseph Dalton
New Writers Welcome

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