How running helped me not lose my mind

Last Toronto run

Last Toronto run

Life is complicated. It becomes exceedingly more complicated when you decide to move to another country.

Back in November, I announced I was moving to London, England in the New Year. 2+ months later, I am now FINALLY on my way. We were under the stunningly stupid assumption that the Government would operate quickly, especially over the holidays, and as a result, it took many more weeks than anticipated to get my visa.  Eight actually. But who’s counting?

During this time, I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. My house was packed up and empty. My husband had already left for London. The holidays were over and I was ready to start my new life in London. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the necessary paperwork.

This was definitely not the triumphant start to 2015 that I had envisioned.

No matter where I was, I kind of felt out of place. I had already said bye to all my friends so seeing them again was like that awkward moment where you say bye to someone and then get into the same elevator. I felt out of place at the office because I wasn’t supposed to be there anymore, and I felt out of place at my house because it no longer felt like home.  The only place I felt somewhat normal was when I was running.

Whenever I was feeling particularly low, I forced myself to go for a run, banking on the runner’s high to help pull me through my slump.

It always worked.

This experiment destroyed any doubt I had about the positive effects of running on mental health. Typically, people who report feeling a runner’s high say they feel totally relaxed, happy, energetic and satisfied with themselves. And honestly, it’s not total BS. After a run, I felt happier. Level headed and optimistic.

Running releases serotonin which is a natural mood lifter. It helps with things like depression, stress and lethargy – all of which I had in high doses over the last eight weeks. Running is a great way to naturally lift your spirits and alleviate some negative energy associated with feelings of sadness. In fact, some research shows that running may actually remodel the brain, making it calmer and more stress-resistant!

Science aside, the bottom line for me – and I suspect many runners out there – is that running makes me feel better. That alone is a pretty good reason to always keep running.

I’m looking forward to many more mood-lifting runs on the other side of the pond.

3 Comments

  1. aprilcunningham January 31, 2015 / 8:57 pm

    Awww I love this post. And your last Toronto run – tear! Runners’ highs rule. They have helped me through many challenging times too. As a new mama, I think the mood boost makes me a better, more patient and happy parent.

  2. FLRunnerBoy February 1, 2015 / 6:17 am

    Nicely written Miranda! … nicely written! Best wishes as you finally start to begin life on the other side of the pond 🙂

  3. runsonsyrup February 1, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    Nice post! Congratulations on your move and good luck to you!

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