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How Long Distance Running Has Helped Me Feel Less Depressed

The Mood Required To Nurture Endorphins

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A start. A rhythm. A cycle of heat. These are the things that we normally think of when we speak of running. A “workout” is probably the word used to summarize the entire procedure. Few of us delve deeper within the idea of what it means to run. Now is a good time that we did that.

Feeling overworked, drained and emotionally burnt out represents a common instance in which one can find himself/herself. I have certainly felt as such and the tendency is to withdraw, to enclose yourself in your house, your bedroom and finally, under your blanket. Loads of thoughts have passed through my mind during times such as those, and none were anything other than a cold and dark confirmation that I had hit a dead end.

Spirits are low, progress halts to a crawl, talks of the future seem like nonsense, but the most important and most worrying aspect of depression is that one gets comfortable into a rhythm of self-pity and languid propagation of day to day life. This is where long distance running comes in.

Photo by Isaac Wendland on Unsplash

First, the projection. I started by seeing myself running on deserted roads, lost and empty highways at obscure hours, before dawn broke or after midnight.This is a remarkable feeling to have, for it stems from the same desire of crawling in your bed and disappearing, the fundamental difference is that, by dreaming of running, you don’t give in to being chained and thus disappearing, but you dream of disappearing into the sunset or the sunrise, on your own feet.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to dream, for you will then be able to turn your dreaming into belief that you can actually do something, even if you are caught up into a dark and absurd place. By believing in running and making the decision to run, you offer yourself a new avenue of thinking, a different dimension.

It is important to not delude yourself by envisioning something cliched, like “the light at the end of the tunnel”. The purpose of running is to see things differently, so why not run to be at one with the now? With the road, the air, the salt, the humidity, the sweat. Let your breath dictate the tempo.

Being part of a lost highway or road at 5 a.m. gives me a feeling of the vastness that the world is, the vastness of the journey I am on, as well as of the depth my mind has.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

Lacing my left shoe before the right one, every morning, gives me a sense of momentum, of excitement. Think about it, we only wear shoes when we are on the go, so when I put them on, I feel automatically engaged for action.

Dressed lightly, headphones on, I feel the rush of the morning air. My blood starts pumping and I run. I just run.

What I find most satisfying is getting into a rhythm that carries me. I feel at ease with it, I feel one with the road, with the air, with myself. The effort becomes blessing, the sweat becomes relief. As such, I experience catharsis.

As I arrive back home, I feel as if I have completed a cycle, the endorphins flow freely in my bloodstream, all the while making the idea of hiding under my blanket utterly laughable. A cold shower follows and it feels comforting, instead of painful.

By doing this daily your posture will change. Your shoulders will be a little stretched out, showing off your chest. Your eyes will naturally look to the horizon, your body will be relaxed, but firm. You will be the living embodiment of your experience.

Everyone will notice that throughout the day. And you will then truly understand what it means to have a spring in your step.

It’s up to you.

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