How do you perceive physical activity?

As i write this, I’m literally days away, 2, in fact, from my first marathon – I’m not telling you that so you can send messages of congratulations – I’m telling you that to show you that the way we view physical activity is most definately about perspective.

This is a little about my running story, hope I don’t bore you, but really the morale of the story is about perspective and mindset.

5 years ago , actually, even 12 months ago, I’d say the thought of running marathon could have made me physically sick, or at least twitch a little! Of course, I wasn’t sick, but I viewed it as torturous!  It was SO far out of reach, not to mention, my comfort zone.

Since then, I’ve slowly increased my running, and along the way just decided I needed to do one marathon in my life.  That was pretty much all – I made a conscious decision, rallied my beautiful girlfriends to be support crew, booked flights, accommodation and registered for the event.  To be honest, I’m still feel amazed at what the body is capable of when we set our minds to it!

I’m not implying everyone needs to do a marathon or similar, for you, it might just be starting to committing to using the stairs every time there is an option, instead of the lift!

Today, I’m, yes, a little anxious but strangely excited – excited for lots of reasons.  Here are some random thoughts for race week and a few things I’ve noted and learnt in the last 6 or 8 months:

I’d be a liar, liar pants on fire if I said it’s all been super easy! Did I want to get out of bed and run every time the alarm went off? No! But I did (except for maybe a few times, when I couldn’t logistically sort my children to be safely looked after!)

Training for a marathon is a rollercoaster of emotions – on the days I didn’t run, especially if a few in a row, I’d start to talk myself out of it! Questioning my decision and perspective! In comparison, after I’d run,, I knew I could do it!

A runner I know was telling me how he cried at end of one of his marathons!  At the time, I felt sorry for him and was thinking, he’s soft, who’d do that?!?!? I so get it now, after all the training and commitment, the support (and well meaning questioning) from loved ones, the ups and downs, I might just get a bit terry too!

I’m going to be towards the end of the finishers, and that’s cool, but I absolutely cannot wait to know I am capable of a marathon! I feel like, my view of the world will change even more – I’ll let you know!

My marathon perspective took on a whole new level of meaning when I also decided that the Jake Garrett Foundation would be my beneficiary for my fundraising efforts.  Again about perspective.  The Jake Garrett Foundation provides emotional and financial support for parents whose precious children have passed away.  Thank you to everyone who has generously donated. When you see a friend and her family having to face this, marathon training isn’t even on the radar of degrees of difficulty.  The marathon is half a day and families have to be without their little person forever.

Please, let my gradual shift in perspective be proof that once we change the way we view things, what we’re capable of changes!  For physical activity – just get moving!

I have a gorgeous friend who has been sending memes in the lead up to race week – all supportive, some hilarious – so I have a few quotes to share:

You will never grow if you stay in your comfort zone – cliche but true – how we view a challenge matters!

We always over estimate what we can do in the short term but under estimate what we can do in the long term – just start!  Go for a walk around the block to reward yourself. Make it a priority instead of making excuses why you can’t, just make it happen, and see how it feels!

That’s what I’ll be doing on Sunday!

What will you ‘do’?

I believe mental health week is an important time to raise awareness of important issues including depression and anxiety – but it also annoys me a little bit that we need a dedicate a week to a topic that should be part of what we do in our everyday existence.

The theme of next week’s mental health week celebrations is ‘Value Mental Health’ – I wholeheartedly agree that we not only need to value mental health but cultivate it.

Mental and physical health are so intimately related that it is impossible, and I’d say almost reckless, to imply that there is a clear line where one finishes and the other starts.

So, we know that to be physically fit, we need undertake certain activities, ie. eating good food, drinking (water), sleeping well and exercising regularly to name a few.  We could say we do these things, but ultimately, we actually need to ‘do’ them to stay physically healthy, we can’t just say we have!  Mental fitness is no different, we need to complete certain practices to cultivate being mentally well. Again, you can say you are grateful and kind to yourself – but unless you truly are, you aren’t helping yourself!!

I was reading an article this week about activities we can ‘do’ to improve our mental health (not just during Mental Health Week but all year around!) – you can read the whole article at http://theweek.com/articles/601157/neuroscience-reveals-4-rituals-that-make-happy , or I have summarised the dot points below – here they are:

  • Ask yourself ‘What am I grateful for? – turns out that even if you can’t think of anything, it is the searching that helps to have an antidepressant effect on the brain.
  • Label negative feelings – simply giving the feelings a name has been proven to decrease the impact that the emotions have on our state.
  • Make that decision – It’s no coincidence that you feel a sigh of relief once you have made a decision, no matter how small it may seem.
  • Touch people – not in a creepy way, but research has shown that physical touch increases happiness, eg. application of this tip needs permission, but might include such things as a hug or pat on back or holding hands.  See? Not too hard!

So while we need to ‘talk the talk’ and value mental health,  we actually have to practice ‘walking the walk’ too!!  So, this mental health week, how many of these four tips, or what else can you ‘do’ to improve your own state?

 

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