How I Use Running to Reduce Anxiety
I have been running for quite a while now. I love running I love the feeling that I get about mid-way and after a good run. When I first started experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety, running to reduce anxiety would be my method of choice. I ran just about every day during my deployment in Afghanistan it really helped me to let off steam and try to forget about my stressful environment.
I use running as a time I can spend alone with just me, God and nature.
The funny thing about running is it can mimic the same physiological responses that anxiety can bring on. Elevated heart rate, sweaty palms, trouble breathing. Over time, I found that experiencing these things during a run made them less scary when I felt them during times of anxiety or panic.
I know that after I am done running that my heart rate will return to normal, as will my breathing. When I run, I feel alive as corny as that may sound its true. When I run I can feel every part of my body working, my heart, my lungs, my legs, everything. How can you not feel alive when all those things are working together.
Using running to reduce anxiety is probably one of the best things I could do for myself and my mental health. When I feel stress, or overwhelm I schedule a run. I find that running 3-4 times a week really helps me to feel less stressed and happier overall. Once I am in a running routine I can tell the difference in my mood if I miss running for a few days so I try to stay consistent.
My running prescription looks like this: I run 4-7 days a week depending on how I feel and what my schedule is like. These aren't always straight non-stop runs. Sometimes they are run/walk, run/cry, run/pray, run/stop. They were basically anything I need them to be depending on how I feel physically and emotionally.
Running has really helped me through a lot. I am grateful for the physical ability to run and I don't want to take it for granted. I guess that is why running is always my #1 sport of choice.
How about you?
Do you run?
Has running helped you make it through any rough patches in your life?
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." - Hebrews 12:1