Conscious Running

Running in nature and Positive Psychology observation. An interesting personal experience blog post by Merijn Hillewaert

Conscious Running

 I have been running on and off for the last 20 years. Initially I used to run to supplement my sports training, but it was only about 5 years ago that it really became a passion.

Juggling a family, a full time job and further education made it hard for me to commit to a sports club. So, running was the only form of exercise that I could do, whenever I found some time in my busy schedule.

In the beginning I ran 5km twice a week and I started to notice how much more resistant to the climate I became. I felt less bothered by the winter cold, whilst before I really disliked going out when the temperature dropped, and the days turned darker. Now I find myself running during rainy days, windy days and snow and I love it.

I steadily increased my running sessions and after moving to a big city, I ran a few times a week after work to de-stress and to get some time outside.

During my long, lonely runs I often listened to audiobooks, and after having finished maybe 10 topics related to positive psychology, I decided to put what I have learned into practice.

Research in positive psychology shows that being in nature has a beneficial effect on happiness, as does reading, learning new things, and exercising.

Because of that I try to plan my workouts as such that I can run in nature, be it on the beach, in a forest or a park and I always listen to audiobooks about topics that interest me such as politics, sociology, psychology or memoires. I also often try to run early in the morning so that I have a jumpstart to the day, and I get to experience the world around me waking up. It is also nice to set yourself attainable running goals focusing both on the short and long term, because achieving them also makes you feel good about yourself.

Combining all these research proven methods of increasing happiness in just one 30 minute or 1 hour running session gives me a serious wellbeing boost and I can only advise other people to give it a try.

If you want to know more about positive psychology or if you have any questions related to my routine, please feel free to contact me.

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