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Jog On: How Running Saved My Life

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At times, the sufferer develops compulsive behaviors as well–thinking that these behaviors are the only means to stop bad thoughts from becoming a reality. Bella used to think that the only means to stop her mom from dying was to switch off light switches in a certain manner. This made Bella use hours turning lights on and off until she sensed she had done it properly. I was about to turn 30, and terrified I would use the breakup as an excuse to retreat, to be scared of life itself. I was not ready to run across a playing field. So I put on some old leggings and a T-shirt and walked to a dark alleyway 30 seconds from my flat. It fitted two important criteria: near enough to the safety of home, and quiet enough that nobody would laugh at me. I felt absurd and slightly ashamed – as if I was doing something perverse that shouldn’t be seen. She did this whole thing to try and handle her extreme anxiety. However, unsurprisingly, these coping methods were not effective. Rather, things got worse. She began going through disassociation – a frightening symptom of anxiety that makes sufferers feel disconnected from their environments. There is no magical remedy for anxiety. There’s no medication you can use or work out you can do that will ensure that you never feel bothered or unhappy again. However, a running regime can assist you to cope with your symptoms and offer you the tools to live a more satisfying life. Therefore, tie your sneakers lace, and let go of your anxiety by allowing your body to fly down a – preferably nature-filled – path. Chapter 5 – Working out in nature offers your mental health an additional boost –a thing Bella personally felt.

The second thing, which was even more valuable, was that I noticed I wasn’t feeling so anxious. Soon enough, I was reaching parts of the city I hadn’t been able to visit in years, especially alone. Within a month I was able to run through the markets of Camden without feeling I would faint or break down. When your brain has denied you the chance to take the mundane excursions most people do every day, being able to pass through stalls selling “Nobody knows I’m a lesbian” T-shirts suddenly feels like a red-letter day. By concentrating on the rhythm of my feet striking the pavement, I wasn’t obsessing over my breathing, or the crowds, or how far I was from home. It was miraculous to me. However, what can be done if you stay in a city or town? Don’t stress–various studies have revealed that you don’t constantly have to work out in nature to get the advantages of it. Extraordinarily, research done by the University of Essex has discovered that just viewing images of lush, natural landscapes while you work out is sufficient to increase your self-esteem and decrease your blood pressure! In an effort to feel safe, she began evading areas that made her panic. However, as the years went by, this signified she couldn’t go to most of the city where she stayed, or go to her local stores, or even go to the closest park near her. When she became married, Bella was dodging from everything –such as planes, freeways, elevators, and subway. What does it feel like when someone has anxiety? If you haven’t felt it yourself, you might assume that you have a really good understanding. When Bella mentioned about her mental health issues to people, they would usually say, “I completely understand, I’m a worrier as well!” These people really meant well; however, they really had small knowledge of how devastating anxiety can be. A beating heart, sweaty palms, and your mind fixed on a regular circle of negative feelings–far too much of us understand the symptoms of anxiety. However, what can you when your anxiety gets really terrible that your entire life crumbles? Also, how can you help yourself improve?

Grace Bernard had taken it upon herself to exact revenge on her wealthy father’s family and committed several murders, which no one else would ever understand. She was determined to take them out one by one, no matter what the cost. But even with her successful operation, she was framed and imprisoned for a murder she did not commit. ‘How To Kill Your Family’ follows Grace’s journey as she seeks revenge and discovers the cost of her actions. Will she finally be able to get away with her crimes, or will she be forever punished for her decisions? I didn’t mind the recounting my own life so much as I just had this desperate need to get the facts right for Jog On. With mental health you obviously feel a huge responsibility to get it right and I didn’t want to misrepresent anything or offer bad advice. I also wanted it to be inclusive and not just about me. To do that justice took a lot of research which I found quite daunting, whereas with this I could basically just write from my head. At first it felt really unnerving - I was like, ‘Is this ok? Do I have to research this?’ But after a while, it actually felt like a bit of a weight off and much more freeing than non-fiction where you’ve got to get it right. Did How To Kill Your Family involve any research? I’m still giving it four stars though as it was very well written, with lots of interesting statistics on how running and exercise really does improve your well being and written in a humorous way to lighten the statistics and research load. If you suffer from anxiety and are looking for something in your day to day life that will help change your mindset, then I’d strongly recommend this book. Share how you’re feeling with friends and family, and seek professional advice. Visit your GP who may suggest medication and/or psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Exercise, meditation and stepping away from social media can sometimes help reduce anxiety levels. But everyone is different. Anxiety is complex and affects people in different ways, so it’s important to get professional help.

Well, it has more to do with a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone you’re your body produces when its fight or flight response is activated. Scientists have discovered that when you workout, your cortisol levels reduce, making you feel less stressed later. Talking openly about mental health has really grown in the last decade. But I can clearly remember a frustrating period where depression was the only topic discussed. In the last few years anxiety has poked its anxious little head up and now there are many books about people’s experiences with anxiety, and it’s great to read similar experiences and coping mechanisms. Maybe I’ll write my own some day. I got shin splints, which hurt like hell. I ran too fast and had to stop after wheezing uncontrollably. Photograph: Thomas Butler/The Guardian It’s a sad reality that 26% of the entire adults in England do lesser than 30 minutes of exercise per week. Also, the data reveal that women work out less than men. The cause for this gender imbalance may be seen in the preconceived notions we have about working out. Research has revealed that a lot of women and girls see sports as competitive, aggressive, and incompatible with being feminine. We go to a Yoga class given by a family friend. My mum, sister, Greg and I hurtle there late, feeling very frazzled and are taken into a dark room to stretch. I've never done Yoga because I have the attention span of a much younger millennial, but two hours without my phone doing deep breathing is actually quite nice, though I insist on running home because I'm still unsure if what I did would count as exercise. I am a brainwashed running idiot. At home, I eat pitta and hummus and imbibe my life-giving Diet Coke before we go out for dinner, where I eat so much truffle pasta and tiramisu that I fall into an uncomfortable indigestion sleep where I dream about moving to Richmond. I have never wanted to move to Richmond. It probably means I want a baby. I assume every dream post-35 means I subconsciously want a baby.” Sunday

After a couple of days of crying and drinking lots of wine, she chose to do a different thing. Rather than using the evening slumped in front of the television, she decided to go for a jog. She still doesn’t actually understand how she came to this choice– it only seemed like the appropriate thing to do. Frequently, this female reluctance to sports begins young; a lot of teenage girls state feeling uncomfortable during mixed-gender gym sessions. One of the reasons is as a result of the comments that boys make during these classes. Sadly, these feelings of discomfort go with women into adulthood. When Cosmopolitan magazine conducted a survey, they discovered that most women felt threatened by gyms and that some were afraid of being criticized by men.

I went into this book expecting a focus on running for newbies and its benefits to mental health that the author experienced. There’s also too much politics and talk of privilege that I didn’t really come to the book to read, and to be honest… a skinny white middle class woman writing a book about exercise complaining that most of the representation of exercise from online content comes from skinny middle class women I found a bit irritating. Start small If leaving your safe places makes you feel vulnerable, do a loop of your road. Run that road until you feel confident you can go to the next one. It all counts, and it’s important you don’t push yourself too fast. Listen to your body. I procrastinate for an hour, then I head out to run. I don't eat breakfast, because I've experimented with this before running and it doesn't make me run faster or longer. It just makes me hungry halfway through. I chew bubblegum throughout my runs, which are typically about 12k. I run like Forrest Gump – no planned route, just meandering through bits of London I've not seen in a while. Sometimes that means a loop, mostly it means running somewhere stupidly far away and having to get the tube home. Aged 29 Bella was married, but having trouble doing anything on her own. “I literally wouldn’t go to the corner shop,” she says. “I was at a terrible place with my anxiety.” Her world imploded when her husband walked out on their marriage after eight months, blindsiding her. “That was the worst moment, really. It was incredibly difficult.”As a matter of fact, OCD begins with worrying thoughts. A mother that has OCD might unexpectedly reason, “What if I killed my daughter?” Now, though thoughts such as these are alarming, they are not abnormal. As a matter of fact, various studies reveal that every one of us experiences random negative feelings such as this occasionally. I line up a book promo and write a chunk of my novel in the afternoon. Saying ‘my novel’ is ridiculous since really only my mum has read it so far. When I get jittery from Diet Coke and sitting down for too long, I go into our junk room (the size of a toilet and filled with stuff we don't know where to put anywhere else) and retrieve some dumbbells and a CMT device, which is basically a dumbbell with handles and filled with ball bearings. I try and do three rounds of five different arm exercises and then some sporadic shaking with the CMT. Then I'll push through a run – same 12k. A photo posted by on Was it a more relaxing writing experience not having to recount your own life? I listened to the audiobook of this, which is narrated by the author, and really enjoyed this format. It was engaging, interesting, educational, honest and at times, quite funny. The author has been through a lot and she never sugar coated things or pretended they were easier than they were. But, it also wasn’t a sob story. She found the perfect balance between talking about challenges and hard times, and giving hope for the future. However, the sedentary group hadn’t formed these connections. This shows that, at a neurological level, exercise prepares us to deal with stress better. It definitely assisted Bella.

I’ve now discovered the author has more of a runners journal with practical guides which is probably more like the book I actually wanted so I’ll try this. I could relate to a lot in this, both her history of anxiety and how helpful exercise has been for her. It was actually pretty meta listening to an audiobook about running for mental health while I was running for mental health. I had planned to finish it while running my first half marathon. But it didn’t quite pan out that way.Together with the hormonal as well as cognitive advantages, there’s also proof that exercise transforms us on a much deeper, neurological level. A current study examined mice that lived in a stressful surrounding. So, some of these mice were permitted to exercise regularly, whereas the other mice were not allowed to exercise at all. Later, the researchers found out that, the active stressed mice had formed new connections in their hippocampus – the part of the brain in charge of emotions. At worst, I’ve looked in the mirror at my own face and not recognised it to be me, and not just because I had terrible hair and bad skin that morning. It’s a strange and awful experience. When I was trapped in a fug of anxiety and depression in my early 20s, disassociation made it feel as though the people around me were actors in a bad reality show. I couldn’t connect with loved ones; everything felt fake and staged.

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