Mindful running as an anti-stress remedy
You haven’t discovered your love for running yet or do you suffer from one of the following symptoms? This article is for you!
- Loss of control
- Lack of sleep
- You find it hard to listen to your body’s warning signals.
- You are constantly tired.
- You are constantly under a high level of stress.
Do you feel this way? You don’t have a minute of peace at work, and you’re always working overtime to finish a to-do list that just won’t get any shorter. But there are always new time-consuming projects and you regularly have the feeling that you just can’t finish them.
The stress level may grow immeasurably. At first, this can be a positive thing, because you can build up a certain stress resistance. However, if this condition lasts longer and becomes a burden in the long term, your health could suffer. There are numerous methods to reduce stress: Running, for example, is a well-tried and often praised remedy against stress.
During the corona-induced lockdown, running experienced a real boom. As shown in a study by Asics on running behavior and mental well-being, most people run to clear their heads and maintain the feeling that they are still in control of the situation.
That running comes with health benefits for our bodies is widely known. Numerous studies have repeatedly confirmed that running can have a rejuvenating effect on the body and contributes to weight loss as well as supporting heart, lung, and bone health.
However, running has a positive effect on our bodies, and it can also promote a healthy mind. During running, the brain gets better blood flow and releases endorphins, among other things. The released happiness hormones help to reduce stress and anxiety lifting your mood and preventing depression. Running enhances performance, creativity, and productivity, as the brain regenerates through regular exercise absorbing more information. People who exercise regularly also sleep better and have in general more energy.
Say ‘no’ to performance pressure and celebrate yourself!
Nevertheless, for you to benefit from these positive effects and do something good for your body, you should keep the following things in mind. Because even running is not immune to the pressure to perform and succeed! Many of us struggle with the fact that our self-esteem is closely linked to our successes. Often, however, it is not we who evaluate successes, but rather we orient ourselves to externally imposed standards – and we mistakenly want to live up to these.
When a beginner wants to find out about running techniques or running equipment on the Internet, the same are constantly confronted with campaigns promoting running. We hardly ever encounter actual running beginners, but rather professional runners who run in the commercials as if they were taking part in a competition.
It is not wrong to have ambitions and to set clear goals, but confronting oneself with such campaigns and professional runners makes little sense. If you expect too much from yourself and strive for perfectionism, you will only harm your mental health in the end.
You must renounce excessive ambition and take the limits set by your body seriously. Instead of repeatedly ignoring your body’s warnings and pushing beyond your limits, be sure to stop and take breaks. Go for a run when you feel like it. If you find that today isn’t your day and you’re having a hard time running right now, just take a walk break. And if you don’t feel like running at all and would rather meet up with friends, then by all means give in to that impulse.
Running should be fun and not become another stress factor. And only if you keep running fun will you be able to implement sustainably running into your everyday life.
3 steps to mindful running
Therefore, a healthy attitude towards running is elementary for Mindful Running – it is the basis to say goodbye to performance pressure and too high expectations and to benefit from the health benefits of running in its entirety. Easier said than done.
But we’re sure you can do it! With this little guide to mindful running, we want to support you.
- Take 5 to 10 minutes before your run and get calm. Use this time for a short mindfulness exercise, for example. This way you will awaken your senses but also your anticipation for the upcoming run. Take a look at the Humanoo app and do the unit “Everyday Mindfulness”, for example.
- Determine what you want to focus your attention on during the run and concentrate exclusively on that. Anything goes: you can focus on your steps, your breathing, or the colors of nature, or you can take the one question you want to deal with you on the way. If negative thoughts come up, just let them pass and find your focus again.
- To finish the run relaxed, you can do a breathing exercise at the end. Be aware of your performance and above all, be proud of yourself! The “Yogic Breathing For Focus” unit in the Humanoo app will help you with this.
Don’t feel like running? Hiking is sexy again
Nothing helps, and running continues to cause you more stress than relief? Then it’s time for you to break free from your strict expectations of yourself! It should not be ‘Not everyone has to enjoy running’ but simply ‘Not everyone has to run’.
Running is just not for you, and that’s OK. But that doesn’t mean that all chances for physical and mental health are lost. Just find another form of exercise that gives you the relief you need. Maybe you’ll find happiness in cycling? Or are you more the hiking type?
For some time now, hiking has not just been a retired person’s hobby but has become a trendy sport among young people. Hiking is sexy! Because similar to running, hiking has a positive effect on your body. Hiking burns calories, but also strengthens the cardiovascular system and joints, and muscles, among other things.
Unlike running, however, hiking is not subject to a competitive spirit. You can hike alone and concentrate on yourself and switch off. The fresh air and tranquillity of nature are an ideal balance to stressful everyday life and provide relaxation. You can also go hiking in a group and have fun and social interaction.
But no matter if running or hiking: It’s the combination of exercise and meditative downtime that creates good vibes and balances body and mind.
Come back next week for more inspiration. In the meantime, check out our Daily Tips.
Your Humanoo Team