Running – My Stress Management Medication

When you get stressed out what healthy things do you do to help bring the stress down to a more manageable level, so that you don’t become the crazed one around the house or work?  I will be interested in hearing how you cope with stressful situations.

Let’s just say since last Friday, it has been a bit stressful around the Shaw house!

Dad’s heart attack, cardiac cath with three stents, having to drive almost two hours one-way to visit (I am not too thrilled by a lot of driving nowadays) and the usual events that continue to keep going even though your mind is not really there.

You know the little things like what is wrong with the dog, he keeps limping around the house, getting time to get the car repaired, the Internet not working for almost a day at the house, my blog theme crashing and a myriad of other little things that are just part of life, but when compounded, just add so much to your overall stress levels.
How have I managed to keep a fairly decent attitude, not get overly wound up over all this stressful stuff (the major and the minor)?

I run.

It is that plain and simple when I start getting stressed out over a situation or have eaten stress burgers – I go for a run.

This simple little act of getting out and putting one foot in front of the other does wonders for my psyche. It also makes me a lot easier to get along with – well usually, sometimes I can just be an old fart and not be very patient about something.

No I am not going to go into the scientific research about how running increases the endorphin levels, it helps treat depression/other mental health problems and all that blah, blah, blah that we have heard so much and so often from the scientists and others pushing this or that theory, article, book or cause.

I really don’t care about that stuff now, I just know that when I run, I feel better.

When injured not the same

When I have been injured and can’t run, I know that I react differently to stress. I tend to get short-tempered, don’t have much patience, have a difficult time focusing, feeling overwhelmed a lot more easily and I just am not the same person. That is how I got during that period I was injured from Feb 2010 to last June and looking back, I over-reacted to many things that when I run, are not a big deal.

Head Clearing

Running gives me the opportunity to clear my head, think through situations or problems that are bothering me and give all those adrenaline (stress) burgers that I have eaten, a physical outlet, so I don’t bottle everything up inside.

Other forms of exercise do not do the same thing for me and I know that I have tried – only running seems meet my needs in this stress management.  I really believe that for me running is a major part of how I positively handle the stress of day-to-day life and those big ones that get thrown our way every so often. Without being able to run, I don’t handle those stressors the same way.

Running is so much more than that.

Running is not simply an add-on to my life or something I do to simply lose weight (although it helps with that too), get out of the house, a sport to spend money on or a way meet other people.

Quite honestly I need to run to be me – the person that I like and enjoy being around and hopefully other do as well. Running keeps me grounded, healthy and believe it or not a little wiser. I slows me down and lets me think things through and be more reflective about what is going on in my life.

How about you, how do you handle stress in your life, is it a healthy way or do you self-destruct and then pay the consequences for that?

Keep smiling and good things will happen! 🙂

Originally written by Harold Shaw published at “A Veteran Runnah” © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harold Shaw and A Veteran Runnah” with appropriate and specific directions or links to the original content.

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5 comments on “Running – My Stress Management Medication

  1. I started running as a stress management, I have a high stress job and when I first began running, I would come home and have to ge wife and mother, it was my one hour to myself, Now the child is grown up, I work parttime same job and I use it as a social media, I love to run with others as where before it was my time. But all along it has been a stress reducer,weight management and both physical and mental well being. Running is my prescription for good Health

  2. Sarah – Thank you for commenting, running does all of that and more I think – a lot of what running does, we take for granted until we can't, then we remember how much it means to us. Others also see the difference when we can run and when we can't.Tara – Yoga is one of those things that I just haven't been able to sink my teeth into, tried more than a couple of times, everyone has a different way to release that is the joy of this world, we are not all the same-just think how boring it would be :-)Thanks Harold

  3. Right on Harold! Its funny how the first bit when you start running your thinking about everything and then BOOM..your just in a zone and relaxing, nothing else matters. I think fitness in general is that for me now.

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