In this hectic world of constant action one has the need for an occasional peaceful time in solitude. Meditation is a great way to achieve mental serenity, but not all of us find motionless techniques effective. If you can’t stop fidgeting during meditation, or it just isn’t your cup of tea, a mindful morning run may become your new favourite relaxing activity.
Many people get distracted while running, either by physical sensations, thoughts, or the environment. However, if practiced in the morning and with a different set of mind it becomes a multidimensional meditative practice that can be beneficial in many areas of everyday life. From weight loss management to fighting depression, running is great for people of all age and athletic skill. Incorporating slow-pace jogging into your morning routine can positively change your overall health and well-being and improve longevity.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Being mindful basically means being able to fully live in the “now”, achieving complete mind presence and awareness of what we do and experience, while not being very much influenced by what’s happening around us. Although it’s considered a basic human ability, this kind of thinking has become extremely challenging, mostly since we live in a world of constant distractions and mental stimuli. No wonder it’s become so hard focusing on what you’re doing and truly living what you experience.
What’s more, our mind clings to stressful situations and problems as fast as it can, making our brains a beehive of anxious and depressing thoughts. This is why learning how to put these mental pressures aside and live in the present is very important for staying healthy and achieving mental bliss and serenity.
How does running fit into all of this? You’ll be surprised how beneficial jogging can be for practicing mindfulness and making it part of your everyday life. Mindful running is a form of meditation, but including more aspects of healthy living as well. Here are 3 ways in which morning running leads you to a more peaceful, fulfilling mind.
CLOSER TO NATURE – CLOSER TO YOURSELF
Try picturing it – the smell of morning dew, first sunlight peeping through the bushes and trees, caressing your face whilst all you can hear is the rhythmic tapping of your running shoes and quiet gasps of breath. There is something magical about being up before the rest of the world – finding the “me time” when there’s no one around to interrupt your peace and train of thought. Mornings are a perfect time when it’s not too hot or too dark, and you get to experience the gradual awakening of nature and life. It surpasses the physical and becomes a way of mental healing.
One more advantage to morning runs is the oh-so-sweet silence that most of us almost never experience during the day. It seems now we’ve become scheduled from the moment we hit the snooze button the first time to the second we fall asleep. Early mornings offer a bit of quiet and solitude to mentally prepare for the day and just enjoy the peace before losing yourself in busyness.
RUN AWAY FROM STRESS AND ANXIETY
Research has shown that moderate-intensity physical activity, like running, is highly beneficial, since it helps in releasing chemicals like endorphin, the mood-boosting hormone, without being too intense and demanding for the body and the mind. Jogging in this sense represents moderate exercising and relaxing at the same time. Since it is rhythmic, repetitive, consistent movement, it gives the brain relief from ruminative thinking ( thinking repetitive, unhappy thoughts).
When running, one should make it a meditative, calming experience. Bringing awareness to deep and even breathing with each step can make jogging an enlightening process, giving the sense of almost achieving superhuman fitness. Notice the sensations in your body, observe how your heart rate increases, your muscles contract and your whole body experiences a positive change. In time, you’ll notice a great change in your mood - the more you run, the less restless and bothered you’ll feel by hectic and stressful situations that you encounter. Soon you won’t feel the need to be worked up and agitated all the time. Instead of taking a medicine, eating sweets or having a cigarette, jogging can be your half-an-hour drug to put you into an instant good mood for the day. Online resources such as Jogging addiction are a great place for running inspiration and many useful tips and tricks.
By exercising in the morning before breakfast and work you give your body and mind a chance to prepare for the daily grind. You’ll notice how more composed and focused you become, how nothing ever seems too stressful and unbearable anymore.
PAVE THE WAY FOR HEALTHIER HABITS
A lot of people struggle with finding solid reasons for exercising regularly and sticking to it in the long run. The lack of motivation usually exists due to the fact that we tend to focus on the rough and exhausting part of the whole experience.
When you take up running, what you deal with is initial physical pain, discomfort and tiredness. Your mind drifts off and the goal seems so far and unattainable. Mindful jogging can help in motivating you to stay on the right track. It then becomes not only a means of getting fit or losing weight, but also a way of giving your mind a rest, connecting with your body, improving your wellbeing and offering yourself time to appreciate your surroundings. That sounds very different, and presents a run as a positive opportunity, rather than an obstacle.
A solid morning routine with running will keep you on course with positive decisions and choices throughout the day. Starting off with a healthy activity will boost your motivation and get things going. It will almost feel weird doing nothing afterwards and wasting your day on procrastination or destructive behavior. It’s not a surprise that successful people put a lot of attention to their morning habits – “an early bird catches the worm” says it all.
The healthiest way to take care of your mind is to put some conscious effort into achieving full awareness of the present. Awaken your conscious self and live every moment of your life. When you first experience the amazing benefits of the morning running, you will get addicted to feeling positive and mentally present all the time. With each step, mindful running can bring health, happiness and wellness to your entire being.