Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Running from Stress in Life

I have always had a love/hate relationship with running. From the fifth grade all the way through high school I absolutely LOATHED running. I actually got that, "oh sh*t" feeling every time I knew I was about to run. A lot of people who knew me growing up seem surprised by this because I have always been a very athletic person. I just hated the idea of running for no apparent reason. I never enjoyed the feeling while running, or the feeling after running. I just hated it. I never understood what people meant  when they talked about "getting a high off of running" or "running is addictive." I simply could not grasp what enticed people to run until the summer of 2012.

I mentioned this in my Intro post, but I will touch on it again. While losing weight and "getting healthy" I took up running as a way to burn extra calories. "Running to burn calories" soon turned in to "Running for me time." I absolutely fell in love with the time I got to myself to reflect on things that were on my mind, things that had happened that day, things that I wish had happened, etc. I ran almost everyday that summer, and on days I didn't I felt "off." I did not feel right physically, emotionally, or mentally on the days that I did not run. For me, running became like a drug and I was addicted. I used it as an outlet to escape from stress at home or from school. Although using running as an outlet to escape my stressors of life may have seemed like a great idea to a novice runner like myself, it wasn't for two huge reasons. First and foremost- I lost way too much weight, and way too fast. I did not have a healthy balance between exercise and eating. Running 5 to 8 miles a day burns a lot of calories, and since I wasn't eating a lot of calories, I shouldn't have been running that much. Secondly- although running was a good way to (temporarily) get my mind off of the things causing me stress, it did not take the problems away. I did not take into consideration that some stress in life is actually a good thing. Stress makes you grow as an individual spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and, in a lot of cases, physically. Some stress in your relationship with your spouse or partner can be a good thing. It not only makes you grow as individuals, but it also makes you grow as a couple.

I used my "addiction" to running as an example of how we tend to use things to escape from our problems that tend to cause us stress in life. While at times we may need to take a breather and get our minds off of things stressing us out, we still need to learn how to face our problems. When finding ways to deal with stress, we always need to remind ourselves of one word: Balance. You may have already noticed this, but "Balance" is a reoccuring theme found in my entries. I believe balance is the key ingredient (among others) to achieving a healthy and happy life. It is through a healthy balance that we can manage every decision we make and how we choose to live day by day. It is through balance that we manage our crazy itineraries everyday and keeping a healthy lifestyle. It is through balance that we achieve a healthy middle between exercise and diet. Achieving balance in life is not a "one size fits all" diagnosis. What works for one person won't necessarily work for another. It is your job to find your  healthy balance in life. I had to make a few adjustments through my journey of achieving balance, and you may have to as well. I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with that. Isn't that how we grow as individuals? I'd like to think so. I want to challenge and encourage you to do two things: One, is to aim for a healthy balance in everything you do in life. And two- don't try to run away from life's stresses, because it is stress that makes us learn and grow as individuals.

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