Finding Your Stride

June 15, 2017

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Finding Your Stride
Photo Courtesy: Akaylah Glidden

Learning To Love The Journey And Not Take Life So Seriously

The guns went off and now we’re running full steam ahead into summer, and pretty soon a new academic year - literally and figuratively. Sometimes we wish we could slow it down or hit “pause” on everything to catch our breath, but sometimes it feels impossible. 

Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves that this life is OURS. It’s in OUR control to either live it or continue stumbling through it. It's a mental game for sure, and that’s why we must all find our stride. For me, that’s running.

I never thought I would grow to love something that I used to despise so much, but I have, and it’s made a world of difference on my mental health and clarity!

Here are 5 Reasons Why Outdoor Running is my Therapist:

It clears my head. Running is my time for reflection, working through conflicts, and sometimes even for not consciously thinking at all. It kind of depends on the day and the issue, but I know that I feel nearly invincible afterwards, and that’s what matters to me.

When I run, anxiety and depression can't hang. Anxiety and depression are like a vicious cycle for me. I get anxious about something to the point where I can barely function and slide into a depressed state with little ambition. Then I get even more anxious about all the time I have wasted. Running is a time when I work through everything, prioritize tasks, and get the endorphins flowing so I can improve my productivity.  

I connect with my surroundings. I remember coming into my freshman year at UNH thinking I’d never get used to Durham, then I started running. Each run I went on I’d intentionally detour down a street I’d never been. Before I knew it, I felt at home and can’t tell you how many awesome trails and views I discovered in the process!

It’s a time for creativity. I don’t usually consider myself a very creative person but running is definitely my creative outlet. It gives me the freedom to choose where I want to go and how fast I want to run. The possibilities are endless!

It’s a way to improve my physical fitness. Like I said, running is an activity that I can greatly control. I can choose how many hills I want to run up or how far I go, if I want to do some intervals, or just take an easy recovery run. I’m usually just happy to get out and run for 30-minutes, but periodically I like to time my runs as a way of checking in on my fitness level and seeing if I can run faster than the time before.

Running may not be your thing, and that’s okay, but I challenge you to take some time this week to reflect on your life, your stressors, and what types of activities really ignite the fire within you. What makes you feel inspired and in control? What gets you excited about life? Once you’ve found it, dedicate some time each week to that activity. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it can make!

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