Sports in general can have many emotional benefits, but running has the strongest impact on your mental state. If you’re a runner, you know the feeling. Before the run you may feel tired or stressed from certain events in life, but after the run you feel fantastic!
Our psyche is very powerful. Our mind controls our thoughts and actions, which can often affect our physical health. Of course, running is a great exercise to lose weight and strengthen the cardiovascular system, but it also positively affects the inner essence of our being. Here are the reasons why:
1) Reduces stress.
Stress is a mental state of mind. No matter how much you hate to admit it or believe it, you create your own stress. When you allow situations in life to affect you internally, you have given power to that particular situation by feeling stress.
Running allows you to focus more on your breathing and the landscape around you. Deep breathing calms the feelings of fear and/or anxiety associated with stress. Running is like a button to release the stress that accumulates in your body.
2) Increases self-esteem.
When you run regularly, your self-esteem slowly increases. You begin to feel good about yourself, whether it’s from the weight loss, weight maintenance, or health benefits you receive.
The energy and stamina you have from running make you feel like you need to take care of your body, so you are less likely to eat unhealthy foods or engage in unhealthy behaviors. You see the benefits of running, and you have a sense of pride and respect for your body.
3) Increases the feeling of freedom
Running is a great way to feel free – free from all the challenges and obstacles that life sometimes brings. Running gives you a sense of freedom. You can go where you want, at the speed you want, and no one and no thoughts can hinder that freedom.
You automatically feel liberated from a demanding boss, nagging children or pushy creditors. Even if it’s just for a moment, you’re free and in your own place of stillness and calm, which is beneficial to both your body and your mind. Sometimes it takes physical activity to truly quiet our minds – something not easily achieved in modern society.
4) Reduces depression
When you run, your brain automatically releases beta-endorphins. Beta-endorphins are neurotransmitters in the brain that are affected in depression. In depression, the neurotransmitters do not fire properly and the overall sense of well-being is reduced.
This is the reason why many feel a “runner’s high” after a run. It is a feeling of calm and happiness, as if all the problems of the day have disappeared.
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