Running and Mental Health
MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH
An article by Vickie Leff in Endurance Magazine, posted July 2013, “RUNNING – Running and Your Mental Health: A Perfect Combination: How And Why Running Can Help You Cope With What Life Throws At You” is perfect for the month of May. It goes beyond the usual talk about endorphin release and focuses on how it helps us learn how to deal with what happens in our lives outside of running.
Because a sunny day helps to lift spirits, the accompanying image shows a picture I took at the end of a otherwise dreary mid-November day, 2015. Looking westward from the eastern shore of Lake Michigan there always seems to be the possibility of a brilliant sunset over the Lake, no matter how terrible the weather was that day. Sometimes the sun will drop down into a thin line of clear sky above the horizon, below a deck of dense low clouds, at the last minutes before sunset. It paints everything with a golden finish.
I cannot recall exactly, but there must have been precipitation that day, which lingered in the skies; it was cold and raw. When the clearing occurred all of a sudden and the sun shone, not only was there a beautiful sunset, but 3 rainbows appeared! Looking eastward, with back to the setting western sun, there they were, only partially visible when i snapped the picture, at the points where the color bands met the land. On the right and in the center you can see 2 of the bands (the other ends of the rainbows were far to the left/north of this shot). The third rainbow was very faint and much further to the north. I told everyone I encountered to turn around!!! I couldn't help but use my EXCLAMATION POINT voice. They were all looking at the west and not seeing the rainbows that were behind them. Crazy person, they must have thought.
My run that evening was epic because of those rainbows, even though I'd had little energy to get out at all, and only went a couple of dispirited miles. At the run's end I lingered a bit to see if the sun would show itself, and what a reward I received.
This story reflects the situation with running. Making the decision to train for and compete in a goal race is a courageous move. We must discipline ourselves and experience the rigors of following a plan, hoping that at it's end we are ready and able to run the race. There are some dark days to live through and challenging hurdles to clear. Then we race and receive our reward: a bright shiny finisher medal with bragging rights. But we should also look back to what we have EARNED in the process. As outlined in Ms. Leff's article, we also "won" self esteem and confidence, developed resiliency, and learned to use motivation and determination to follow through on a self-promise. That's a triple rainbow in the world of mental health!
I write this Your Memory, Dad, as you would have been 96 years old today. I love and miss you xox.
5/26/2016 11:06:58 am
Wow! This is a very beautiful picture. I love rainbows and have never seen 3 at one time. I've seen 2 often enough, and once I saw a rainbow that looked like a square in the sky -- very weird. But this picture with the sky color and the rainbows is just lovely. Thanks!
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BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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