My mind is constantly racing, over thinking and anxious. I graduated from college and now I’m a barista…not exactly the outcome I had envisioned the past twenty-two years of my life. I tell myself halfheartedly that it will all workout in the end. Everyone is telling me to find a job I am passionate about, only problem is I couldn’t tell you what that job even is. I can feel my chest getting tight and my breath begins to quicken.
Yet in the back of my mind I hear a small voice. It tells me to go, go outside, go for a run, go for a walk, just go; and I listen. I quickly lace up my shoes, grab my water bottle and I’m out the door before I even have time to dwell on the negative thoughts. I run, not exceptionally fast or far but I run. Before I know it I get into a rhythm and the anxiety begins to melt away. By the time I get back to my house it is once again clear how powerful a run can be. Running for me is meditation; calming, restorative, and empowering.
Not many people in my life are aware that I often struggle with anxiety. Over the past few years, like many people my age, I’ve gone through some pretty big life changes. During college the idea of picking a major seemed like I was trying to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. However, I now realize that is not the case at all. It was through these times of immense anxiety that I turned to running.
Running is more than just exercise to me. It is a way for me to take a step back and appreciate all that I have to be thankful for. When I feel the anxiety building, running is there to remind me how miraculous it is that I am even capable of running. I, like most people, can often take my health for granted. My time on the trails is a way to tune out the silly issues I constantly dwell on.
I understand that running is not the most glamorous physical activity. When I tell people that I love to run they look at me as if I am crazy, and maybe you do have to be a little crazy to run ultra-marathons. I share my experiences not to tell people that running is always the answer, but rather to show how fitness is more than just a way to shed a few pounds. Moving your body in a way that you love can help alleviate the stress and anxiety that seems to just keep building. I find that after a run I am in a much better head space. I am able to shine perspective on my fears and realize just how irrational most of them are.
So when you are feeling an overflow of emotions I encourage you to just GO. Go run, bike, hike, swim, lift weights, do some yoga, do whatever it is that you love that gets your body moving. Give the negative thoughts a rest and remember to never underestimate the power of a run.