Running is cheaper than therapy
At one of the running events I recently attended there was a shirt that caught my eye. It read “Running is Cheaper than Therapy.” As someone who highly values psychotherapy (and makes her living doing it), and even though I have completed countless 5k runs and several half and full marathons, at first I found myself offended.
Then I started to think…
It is true that on my most stressful days, a good long run helps me reduce both stress and anxiety. It is the one place I can be alone with my thoughts, and I have found that in these moments I can solve perplexing issues. Sometimes I put off making a decision until I am on a run, where I can process all the pros and cons associated with this dilemma. Then I often return home ready to proclaim my decision.
Some runs are long, some are short. Running in the morning works best for me. It helps me get on track and actually keeps my energy level up all day long. On the days I miss my morning run due to other business, I certainly feel it later in the day. I start dragging and yawning about 3 p.m. and find that I have a more difficult time concentrating throughout the day. Even a short one-mile run can help keep the fog away.
I do go through, sometimes long, periods of time when I get out of the habit. The time quickly fills up with many other “important” chores, duties, and distractions. The thing is, when this happens I will eventually find myself overwhelmed and stressed out, more emotionally raw, and my energy waning. Then one day it dawns on me: ”I haven’t been on a run lately.” After I drag myself upstairs, throw on my running shoes, and force myself to go for a run, I ALWAYS feel better. Almost immediately, my energy comes back and the stress level goes down.
After some thought and contemplation, I actually bought two shirts and wear them proudly. While I obviously do support and encourage everyone to get himself or herself in a therapist’s office occasionally, good self-care is important to keep our stress levels down. Running may not be for everyone, but some kind of physical activity is very healthy and important to fit in. Ben Franklin is famous for stating, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” For me pounding the pavement is just the prevention that works best for me.