Running: How to Overcome Your Psychological Blocks

When it comes to running, psychological limitations get in your way in many forms. It could be stress, distress, anxiety, fatigue, trauma, and the list goes on and on.

However, overcoming these psychological limitations is much easier when you are a runner. The reason is that running is good for your physical health and also has many benefits to your psychology.

How Running Can Help Remove Psychological Limitations?

I’ve put together here 6 ways in which running can help you overcome psychological limitations.

1. Running Relieves Stress 

Running reduces the harmful effects of stress by helping your mind get off some stressful situations. You will realize that after a long run, your mind gets a feeling of peace and relaxation.

It allows the brain to produce a hormone called endorphin (also called the feel-good hormone) that acts as a natural antidepressant. This hormone also makes you resistant to psychological blocks and increases your ability to deal with any psychological issues.

According to research, maintaining your running regimen when in a stressful situation, increases your ability to handle any challenges that come your way. 

2. Running Improves Your Mood 

Many psychological limitations are a result of having a low mood which might then lead to depression and anxiety. Fortunately, there is evidence that it has similar effects as medication when it comes to relieving anxiety. A study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America out that running and other forms of exercise will help you to relax and reduce your anxiety symptoms.

If you are an athlete, don’t let anxiety and depression affect the way you tune your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Go for that run. Apart from relieving your feelings of anxiety, you will feel a positive influence on your attitude and mood. It will give you something new to focus on and keep anxiety and depression a bay.

3. Running Increases Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is a great way to deal with psychological limitations. It is a meditative state that puts you in a calm state of mind. Running helps you achieve this state by directing your focus to your breathing and the surroundings.

While in this situation, your worries slip away and no longer bother you. You will feel as if a huge burden has been lifted off from your shoulders when you practice. According to Dr. Elena Touroni, Clinic Director and Consultant Psychologist at the Chelsea Psychology Clinic, running is an activity that can be done mindfully with full attention.

You can connect with your physical self and put unhelpful thoughts that lead to intense negative feelings away from your mind. So, if you thought it is only yoga that can help you practice mindfulness, think again. Don’t succumb to psychological blocks and limitations.

Get out there, free up your mind by taking your usual long run.

4. Running improves memory

Running prevents psychological limitations such as forgetfulness or memory loss. According to research, it has potential benefits for the hippocampus area of the brain. It is the part of the brain that is responsible for learning and memory.

A study on subjects suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s disease portrayed that aerobic training programs increased the patients’ memory capabilities. There is also evidence that it enhances learning performance by increasing levels of epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and BDNF.

With a good memory, you can learn new things and recall much faster. If you are an athlete who wants to learn a new language, get outside and go for a run more often.

5. Running Helps You Get Sound Sleeps

It is quite frustrating to want to sleep, but when you get into your bed sleep eludes you. Lack of enough sleep is associated with most psychological blocks. Luckily for you, this is something you can overcome. Outdoor running makes falling asleep easier and promotes better sleep.

Dr. Touroni says, ‘Intense physical activity has a very positive impact on alleviating one of the key symptoms of mental disorder, the ability to sleep.’ It is also natural to struggle with sleep when you are anxious or depressed, she adds.  Running regulates circadian rhythms, hence getting longer and restful sleep becomes easy. 

In fact, according to research by Northwestern Medicine, you can reduce or even completely cure insomnia by engaging in regular exercises such as running. So if you are a runner experiencing psychological limitations, such as lack of enough sleep, look no further. You only need to get your shoes on and start running. Improve the quality of your sleep by maintaining a regular running routine. Among all benefits, jogging may improve the state of the skin due to the constant sweating. 

6. Running Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem 

Lastly, running will help you overcome psychological blicks such as low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. As athletes win race after race, they start to believe in themselves more.

Knowing that your body is capable of great achievement improves your self-esteem. Research by the DBS school of Arts in Dublin found that taking part in physical activities such as running and jogging improves self-esteem.

When you are a regular runner, your body image and fitness improves, and you can look into the mirror with more pride. Also, seeing how much you have accomplished with your running abilities boosts your self-confidence. 

Running is beneficial for your fitness and general body health. As can be seen from the above it is also a form of exercise that can help you overcome several psychological blocks and limitations such as stress, anxiety, and fatigue.

However, it is advisable to get professional help if your symptoms persist. However, it is never too late to start running. Put on your running shoes, get out there and run!


Kori Anderson

Kori is a psychologist, writer, and a strong running lover. She believes that true happiness comes from mindful living, taking care of your body and mind, and having a fulfilling social life.

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