The Runner’s High and How To Apply it in Your Life

This article was posted on Medium.

2 years ago I could barely climb up a flight of stairs. I was bad athletically, stamina wise, terrible breathing patterns. You name it. But one day I got on a treadmill, and what started out as a turtle pace, with time, turned into extended periods of jogging, then running. I didn’t know it at first, but back then I was becoming acquainted with the phenomena known as “runner’s high.”

What is Runner’s High?

Runner’s high is an intense feeling of elation following exercise. It is the result of chemical reactions in the brain and body during prolonged periods of exercise.

Ok, but what’s Runner’s High?

In laymen’s terms, when you’re running, somewhere along the way you’re going to put up a fight. Your body will tell your brain that this excess and fierce movement and activity is foreign to such a lazy potato of a body. And that all this activity should stop right now. This is where the power of the mind comes into play. Your brain will send a little message back to your body telling it “give it a minute. Let this thing play out.”

Much to the dismay of your body, it will oblige.

And to your surprise, with a little perseverance and past the point of resistance, you will find that you are operating at a higher gear. It’s as if your legs have been rejuvenated. Given a new burst of energy to run faster, quicker, and stronger. Your heavy breathing has relaxed, and your blurry vision cleared. You no longer dread the daunting ticking of time, you want it to go on longer. You push yourself further. You’ve been given a new life. Your perseverance has paid off and you’re experiencing the effects of your success. This is where the term “high” comes in, those feelings mirror the feelings of euphoria.

When I look back at when I first started running, I often struggled just getting on the treadmill. I didn’t make a conscious decision to improve my running. It happened by accident. One day as I was doing another one of my slow walks on the treadmill and thought to myself “this is boring.” So I upped the speed. Each day a faster level, and a longer time. I realized that I can go longer and longer. And every time at some point I would hear the voice in my head telling to me give up, and my body telling me to give up, and that I wanted to give up. But I found out that if I pushed for one minute longer, those doubts would be gone. Those voices replaced with silence. The anxiousness replaced with euphoria.

Applying Runner’s High to your Life

I’ve written about different aspects of life. Whether it’s the positive perks of not having a planor learning to overcome the struggles of pursuing your passion. Whatever the aspect it is, I tend to draw comparisons to everyday experiences. In this regard, the runner’s high represents overcoming the regular resistance we come across in our everyday life.

In life, nothing is meant to come easy. Resistance is a given.

I came across runner’s high while running, but I soon found out that the idea of runner’s high is applicable everywhere. Life is very much a marathon. In that marathon, you must pace yourself to reach your end goal -the finish line. Somewhere along the way, you will feel tired, weak, exhausted, maybe even defeated. The resistance will creep up, and you’ll tell yourself that you should quit now, that there is no way you can keep going. It is in this exact moment when you are drowned beneath an avalanche of doubt and defeat, that you should tell yourself “give it a minute, let this thing play out.” Because past the point of puny resistance is your runner’s high. The euphoric mindstate where you are one with yourself. The moment that you feel everything working for you.

In the end, the resistance represents a small struggle to climb a tiny mountain to get to the coveted side. Understanding that is understanding that nothing comes easy, but everything does come eventually. You just have to want it bad enough.

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