Running, Mindfulness and the Art of Being Present

It is important, in life, to take one moment at a time and when you run, one step at a time. This is simple logic and probably a piece of advice heard more than once. But the key to living life to the fullest is by living in the present. Sometimes, being fully present and conscious of your surroundings is the most challenging thing of all.

If you ask most people why they run they respond with a myriad of different answers. Many say to “lose weight, meet other people, and/or that it accommodates their busy and hectic schedule.” During my last six years, I have been sometimes running away and other times running towards life and its challenges. The truth is that the more you run, the harder it becomes to run away from yourself.

Anxiety and depression continue to rise and affect those most close to us. For those that suffer from anxiety, “flight or “fight” is an all too familiar term. It often restricts us from thinking rationally and dealing with problems in a calm and meaningful manner. I was once told that running is an effective tool in stimulating parts of the brain that encourage more mindful rational decision making. Mindfulness, is nothing new. If anything, it is an ancient practice that has influenced cultures and communities across the globe. Some may view it as “hippy, dippy, granola, eating ” solution. Whatever you interpret “mindfulness” to be, it works. It is the awareness of being in the present moment. Our busy technology filled life is bombarded with constant pokes and alerts from social media. It causes us to master the skills of multi tasking. But more importantly it causes us to be distracted with the future, past and the constant need to compare our lives to others.

Running, for me, is practicing mindfulness. In the words of Jim Elliott, “Wherever you are, be all there.”


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