Exercise, in general, can have many emotional benefits, but running has the most powerful impact on your mental state. If you’re a runner, you know the feeling – before your race, you may have felt tired or stressed by certain life events, and then after your race, you feel good!
Our minds are very powerful. Our mind controls our thoughts and actions, which can often influence our physical health. Of course, running is an excellent exercise to lose weight and strengthen your cardiovascular health, but it also has benefits for the inner essence of our being. Here’s how:
1) Reduces stress
Stress is a mental state. No matter how much you hate to admit or believe it, you cause your own stress. When you allow life situations to affect you inwardly, you have empowered that particular situation by feeling stress.
Running allows you to focus more on your breathing and the landscape around you. Deep breathing soothes 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 begins to rise. You start to feel good about yourself, whether it’s weight loss, weight maintenance or the health benefits you receive.
Since you have the energy and stamina to run, it makes you feel like you need to take care of your body, so you are less likely to eat foods that are not good for you or have unhealthy behavior. You see the benefits of running, and you feel 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 presents. When you run, there is a sense of freedom. You can go wherever you want at the speed you want, and no one or thought can hinder that freedom.
You automatically feel a sense of liberation from the demanding boss, harassing children or arrogant creditors. Even if it is only for a moment, you are free and in your own place of silence and calm that soothes both your body and your mind. Sometimes it takes physical activity to really soothe our minds – something that is not easy to achieve in modern society.
4) Decreases depression
When you run, your brain automatically releases beta-endorphins. Beta-endorphins are neurotransmitters in the brain that are affected during depression. In depression, neurotransmitters do not function properly and the feeling of general well-being is diminished.
This is the reason why many feel a “high of runners” after a race. It is a complete feeling of peace and happiness, as if all the problems of the day had really disappeared.