Are you someone who’s struggled with anxiety for a long time? You may have tried different ways to deal with your anxiety and come short, but have you ever tried marathon training? Certainly, you should not ditch your therapy sessions in favor of running. Running is by no means a cure-all for anxiety. However, marathon training/running does help improve the chemical balance of your body and here’s why:
Motivation And Clear Focus
There is ample evidence to prove that exercise has a notable impact on brain chemistry. It helps fight depression and prevents the disease from developing. Studies show persistent exercise blocks pain signals in the body and activates dopamine and serotonin. Both are feel-good chemicals in the body.
Marathon training also gives you the opportunity to achieve something and develop an inner dialogue with yourself that keeps you going. Talk to yourself when you run – tell yourself that you are doing a great job. You can do it. You are strong. These messages help reinforce a sense of purpose.
A Sense Of Achievement
It requires a lot of discipline to prep for a marathon. Setting up tasks for the day and completing them gives you a sense of achievement. You know you have a task in hand for a specific day—finish this mile, sprint to the end of the street, make it up this hill etc. Setting different milestones for the marathon training and completing them as part of your daily/weekly/monthly tasks will give you a sense of achievement. This helps to combat negativity with positivity. It will also give you a breather from all petty issues looming inside your brain that stress you out.
Meditate While Concentrating On Your Breathing
Running and mediation have been scientifically prove to help combat mood disorders. When you pay attention to your body, it will actually ground you in the present moment. Overcoming signs of discomfort while running helps you know your body more. It allows you not to panic, and you develop a rhythmic pattern to breathe and keep your mind relaxed.
As Sakyong Mipham teaches in his book Running With the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind, “When the mind is totally present, it is relaxed, nimble, and sensitive. It feels lighter and clearer. It notices everything, but it is not distracted by anything. It is the feeling of knowing exactly where you are and what you are doing.”
Helps You Handle Your Anxiety
Marathon training is by no means a substitute to your antidepressants, so be careful not to swap one for the other. Recent surveys show that anxiety has surpassed depression as the most diagnosed disorder with almost 18% of Americans having some sort of anxiety disorder. Doing some physical activity that you actually like helps you combat anxiety.
There are many examples where endurance races have helped break the feeling of being not good enough. But above all one must listen to what his/her body is saying. It is recommended that people make their priority being aware of and honoring their edge, so as not to trigger more symptoms. Marathon training simply allows you to be out and lets you know how it feels to be in touch with your breath.
Supportive Social Life
The icing on the cake is that with the practices you learn when you run, you’ll overcome your social anxieties. It greatly impacts your ability to a set a challenge and achieve it in a group activity. You can start marathon training for any reason but once you know the benefits you would love to continue doing it. You can make new friends when you train, learn from others and encourage each other. Moreover, you have opportunities to listen in and lean on one another for support. It’s pretty much the metaphor for your friendship on and off of the pavement.