#RunningStreak Day 111: Mindful Running to Reduce Anxiety and Stress
“Meditate”.. this word used to make me cringe followed by an eye roll. I used to struggle with quieting my mind during yoga sessions and even before bed. It was such a foreign skill to me. I often wondered how did people do it? Be able to stop your thoughts of; What do I need to get done today-what about tomorrow- what will I make for dinner- did I reply to that email- why did I say that- why did I do this- and it goes on and on. Shutting it off was impossible! My brain was overflowing and there is no special secret room in my mind to hide them away for even just a few minutes. What were they thinking?
Fast forward a few years, and going through a change of career into Psychology, I was introduced to Mindfulness; the basic human ability to be fully present, and aware of where we are. Where all I have to do is to notice what is around me. What or who is in front of me, how are they making me feel. Be really present to all the sensations in my body and the thoughts in my mind in that given moment. I found this to be my stepping stone to mindful meditation. Like everything else where you want to do well, you have to practice. So you start where you are. Pay attention to what’s around you. Your thoughts, feelings, at anytime anywhere. Practice this daily and you will notice how being fully engaged in the here and now, makes a difference in the quality of your relationships and your life.
I then combined this mindfulness with running and it has been the best anxiety reducer and mood enhancer for me. As a matter of fact, a 2016 study published in Translational Psychiatry shows that combining directed meditation with running or walking reduced symptoms of depression by 40 percent for depressed participants. As well as a 2020 study published in Neural Plasticity found that mindfulness training can even give your endurance performance a boost.
When I’m out there, I focus my attention on my breath and what’s around me at that very moment. This morning the warm rays of sunrise glazed over my frosty face. At that very moment, I felt… or better yet ..I believed the sky was brightening up just for me.
Go ahead and try it and let me know what you noticed?
#anxietyawareness #mindfulness #mentalhealthawareness #anxietyrelief #mariagracewolk.com #breakthestigma