Depression and anxiety run rampant in today’s world. I write this today as someone who struggled with mood imbalance and depression for years—and who found peace from it through running and movement. Showing up for yourself and paying careful attention to the needs of your mind through the practice of physical activity may just be the remedy that helps brighten your tomorrow.
While enduring physical activity, such as running, your body begins to endure stress such as experiencing a rise in heart rate, deeper breathing, stronger focus, heat, and fatigued muscles. Although this stress is positive and beneficial to your overall health and well-being, your body reads it as discomfort and begins to search for a solution: endorphins.
What are endorphins? Endorphins are our bodies natural pain and stress-fighting chemicals. They activate the body’s opiate receptors. Activation of the opiate receptors causes numbness by producing an analgesic effect. To be an analgesic is to relieve pain. To be an endorphin is to have the capacity to relieve pain physically, mentally, and emotionally through the power of exercise.
By devoting your body and mind to an hour of intense physical activity you are likely to experience a rise in endorphins. This rise in endorphins brings about a clearer mind, a boosted mood, and a decrease in pain and tension. You heard it here. Runner’s high is NOT a myth. The high carries on long after the exercise is completed and brings about a feeling of fulfillment, confidence, and ease.
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When we place our bodies under positive stress, we encourage our minds to adapt to stress and accept it as an occurring component of our lives.
Sounds silly, right? As we expose ourselves and respond to the stress of physical activity we naturally up our threshold to stress and discomfort. Meaning, when we face stress outside of our exercise routine, such as work, school, relationships or otherwise, our mind and body are equipped with an arsenal of endorphins and neural pathways to better combat the discomfort. When we spend an hour packed with physical activity getting to know our minds, our stress triggers, and how to combat them we allow ourselves to better manage stress when it appears in our daily life.
Exercise and movement – running in particular – exposes our body to positive stress. This stress promotes endorphin production, increases our stress threshold, and initiates conflict resolution in our minds. It may sound painfully simple, but, spending time with your body and mind during physical exertion creates a mind body connection. This can help you see your world more clearly and without harmful effects of mood imbalance. Celebrate your body and your mind through movement and exercise, who knows what could happen.
Related Article: 5 Steps To An Effective Daily Wellness Routine
Struggling to commit or begin an exercise practice? Here are some of our favorite running tips:
- Get yourself an old school wristwatch and commit to a set number of minutes per day. We recommend 60 minutes! Forget mileage, pace, and distance. Instead, choose to commit to
- Get yourself an old school wristwatch and commit to a set number of minutes per day. We recommend 60 minutes! Forget mileage, pace, and distance. Instead, choose to commit to moving your body for this set amount of time at least four days a week. On days you feel great you can push it a little harder than you typically might. Whereas on days you are not feeling your best, you can slow down and take absolute pride in the fact that you stuck to your goal and still moved for your goal set of minutes.
- Playlists, playlists, PLAYLISTS!
- Make your runs “out and back” rather than a loop. By having a halfway turn-a-round point you are trusting your body and letting your mind and legs know you can make it all the way!