I’m sure you’re familiar with numerous motivational speakers, all of them advising us to stay and focus on the present, to avoid stress and reduce anxiety. What they mean by all these is simple: MINDFULNESS.
Now, you must be wondering, “what is mindfulness in running?”
The ability to stay in the current moment while being fully conscious of our thoughts and feelings is mindfulness. It is a naturally possessed but rarely practiced skill in humans, that can help you in focusing better at work and reducing the chances of getting carried away or being distracted by your feelings and thoughts. It is a practice that, if followed properly, can do wonders and help you attain your goals and objectives more easily.
Unlike meditation, which is temporary, mindfulness is permanent. Once practiced and adapted to, it stays with you forever. It is a myth that mindfulness eliminates stress, it rather helps you to deal with your feelings and stress in a controllable manner by making you aware of it.
Wondering if this is all true and can mindfulness really do such wonders? The answer is yes. There have been so many researches around the world which have proved that mindfulness can indeed result in reduced aggression, increased compassion, and significantly reduced stress.
There had been researches that concluded that practicing mindfulness can reduce your aggression by 50% and stress by 25%. Thinking about how mindfulness can help you in running and how can you practice it?
Stay tuned, here we will be talking about how running and mindfulness are totally interrelated and how can you practice mindfulness in running.
How running and mindfulness are linked?
Mindfulness and running have the same philosophy, which is to “focus on the current moment”.
There will be distractions, negative thoughts, anxiety, and others but, if you have to succeed, you must stay focused. Mindfulness is paying attention to the current sensation, thoughts, and emotions. Are not these so important for you as a runner as well? If you have such a steady focus, will it not be easier to win the hurdles?
Runners often mention that running helps them to free up their mind. I am sure you can relate to it too. This only happens when you focus on the present and not let the anxiety and the thoughts about the future and past haunt you. Is not this exactly what you read about mindfulness above?
Can you see how they are so intimately linked now?
Both mindfulness and running help you practice similar things in a different approach. If you include the elements of mindfulness in your running, you will be able to make the most of it.
By now you must be thinking about how you can incorporate mindfulness in your running and what are the benefits that you can reap by practising it. Let me tell you there are heaps of benefits.
So, let’s see what are the benefits of mindfulness in running.
Benefits of mindfulness in running
Mindfulness in running lets you enjoy your run thoroughly and not be impacted by anything else. It is a different experience altogether when you add mindfulness to your running. Some people like to say it as a pure and divine experience. Some of the key benefits are mentioned here:
Delightful Running Experience
Are you ready for a differently happier experience while running? Well, that is exactly the first benefit of adding mindfulness in running. Researches and studies have identified that when you do this, cortisol (often referred to as a stress hormone) reduces in your body. This significantly lowers your stress. And obviously, the lower the stress, the more is the fun and the more happy and delighted you are.
You feel more energetic
It is a well-known fact that stress and anxiety can make you lethargic by draining all your energy. As mindfulness makes you aware of the present, you get to make a conscious decision on when to rest. Ensuring you use your energy in the activities you need to and being aware of when to rest helps you feel more energetic.
Increased pain forbearance
Various statistical analysis’s have established that practicing mindfulness results in a high tolerance of pain. This again ties back to the theory of being in the present which helps in making the right choices.
Increased stamina and speed
Relaxation & meditation directly results in an increased stamina and speed. When you are not stressed about anything, your body is relatively more fit and your mind is more free which will definitely help you perform better. There are significant positives of mindfulness in running.
Thinking about incorporating mindfulness in running but don’t know how? Keep on reading to discover some ideas to excel in this transformation.
How to get started with mindfulness in running?
It is not as difficult as it sounds. It may sound challenging initially, but as you develop the habit you will be able to reap an abundance of benefits from it. There is an old saying that “practice makes man perfect” and I’m sure you’ve heard of it.
Here are some tips that will help you in your journey to practice mindfulness in running.
Do not use headphones/earphones when running
It is not uncommon to use the headphones while you go out for running. It definitely is relaxing to listen to your favorite music and running but it does not help in mindfulness. To practice mindfulness, try staying away from music and enjoy the surroundings and environment instead.
Go for a run outdoors
With so many exercise machines available, it is lucrative to run indoors on a running machine. But to practice mindfulness in running, it is recommended to run outside in an open environment. Mindfulness is about staying in the present and by running outside you can focus on the surroundings, path, and trails. This will train the mind to be in the present and help you attain the goal of mindfulness.
Warm-up before you start
Perform breathing exercises before you start. This will mentally prepare you for running and help you attain freshness. Practice to focus on the present and not essentially on the running itself. This will provide you with the much-required relaxation.
Perform a mental body scan
Sounds weird! Wondering what does it mean? It is as simple as staying in the present. A mental body scan is nothing but just feeling deep about your body. If you do so, you will be able to observe the pattern of your breathing and also identify the cramps and pain in the body.
Identity the stress and anxiety you are carrying and then try to adapt to a breathing pattern that reduces the stress. It may be sounding weird to you but is easily done than said.
What does the current research say about mindfulness?
Researches have proven again and again that mindfulness can result in a significant positive impact on you and your body. Many scientists and researchers have recognized the benefits of mindfulness and have published convincing facts. Lets read some key findings.
- Mindfulness results in reduced aggression.
- Mindfulness increases the quality of your life by reducing stress and anxiety.
- Significant improvement in focus and attention is observed in people practising mindfulness.
- Mindfulness results in a healthier body and improved interpersonal skills.
Researches have established that people who have actively completed the mindfulness training can remain more vigilant and active. Mindfulness increases efficiency, self-control, and stabilises you mentally. It can also help to improve your mental health, immune system and can also help to overcome chronic pain and other ailments.
Mindfulness can do numerous wonders for you. There could not be any better reason to start this other than you and your health. It is no surprise, why mindfulness is becoming so popular throughout the world. If you have not started your journey on this, start now to get benefited without any further delay.
Some tips for getting started with mindfulness in running
Mindfulness a form of meditation that is rewarding to the people who practice it. It is not temporary, it stays with you long-term and you can practise it anytime and anywhere. Here are some tips to get you started with mindfulness in running.
Use a mantra
Mantras are powerful when you perform meditation and essentially help you to concentrate and focus on the present better. You can choose any sentence that you love chanting. Believe in the power of words and choose something like “I can do it” or “ I will win this” or anything else of your choice.
Breathing pattern is key
Focus on your breath. Use your breathing as a navigator to your thoughts, stress, and anxiety. Try coordinating your footsteps with your breathing pattern.
Explore the reality
To “Become aware” is the key. Strike a chord with the environment you are running in. Try to feel the breeze, natural sounds, etc. This will help you to stay in the current easily.
Try guided mindfulness
It is easy to feel it is not for you or you cannot do it. Stay away from negative energies like this. Seek a mentored mindfulness practice if needed. This will help you to understand the basics of mindfulness and to get going on your journey to practice mindfulness in running.
There can be no doubt that mindfulness improves the quality of life. It is an opportunity to spend time with yourself, understand things, and try to understand and react in an educated manner. Practising mindfulness in running will help you focus on the present better and can bring you back to the present in case you get diverted. You can even join specialised clubs and practise mindfulness together with others.