I run for many reasons. Sometimes its just a beautiful day and I want to enjoy the fresh air. I run for my physical health. I run to enjoy times with friends...and also my pups :)
I also run for my mental health.
Last week I read:
So...then I started thinking about my own life. I thought about how there is not one single defining event that I can say "I started running to deal with this" or "I started running because of this" but there have been several smaller scale stressful life experiences where I find myself more and more often immediately thinking "Wow. That was stressful. I can't wait to get out for a run." And I find myself smiling almost immediately. And feeling grateful that I have found a healthy outlet for my stress.
However. I have also had people ask before "What are you running from?" And that bothers me, because as a psychologist-in-training that hopes to help people FACE rather than AVOID their experience, I don't want to be a hypocrite of that value in my own life.
I have never been all that great at dealing with or handling my emotion. I still sometimes would rather push it out of my mind altogether if it seems too stressful or upsetting. People sometimes talk to me about a "good cry" where they can allow themselves to cry, later stop and then feel better almost instantly simply from the release of the emotion. I am not to that point yet...that kind of release still just brings further anxiety to mind.
However. The more I contemplate whether I am "running from something" the less I think that explanation is true...I believe that I am "running WITH something" and that "something" is sometimes an emotion I am trying to work through in that moment. Sure, sometimes I run with pure joy. But others I run to better understand sadness or anger or frustration that I am currently experiencing.
I do not think I am running away from those emotions at all. In fact...I think it is the opposite. I often think I am driven to run after a stressful experience as a release...but also to better be with the experience and to better understand myself.