It's funny to me when I'm at work and people say to me, "You didn't run today, did you?" Is it THAT obvious? You may think that it would be insulting, someone essentially saying to me, "Wow! You're moody!" But the funniest part about this conceivable slam is that the person tossing the line is almost always right!
I am a happy person, aren't I? With running I am. Take away my runs and I adopt an alter-personality. I am more affected by others, their problems, my problems, issues happening around me, and regular daily stress. I am quicker to anger and annoyance. Without running, I am not me.
As a teenager and young adult, I was a mess. Having my son and finding running were the two things in life that grounded me. I became me...the me I was before puberty set in. I let things ride; I take it easy; I laugh and love. I live my life with a smile.
So what is it that changes my brain to alter my personality? The easy answer is endorphins, serotonin, dopamine...things I talk about in previous blogs. I think that these play a major role in a neuro-chemical change that occurs. But there is something else; perhaps a more cognitive approach.
I think another big part of the mind-altering affects of running has a lot to do with consistently challenging your mind and breaking through. How many times during a run do you think of slowing or stopping? But you stick to your pace. You keep trodding up an ominous looking hill. After you are running for a while, you realize that you can do more than you ever imagined. You use this mindset each time you tie those laces; you tell yourself to stop the negativity and just run! And you carry that positive mentality on to the rest of your life and you know that you can face problems, make it work, deal with the stress of life. You know you will make it to the top of the hill and triumph. Practicing the patience, perseverance, planning, positivity, and persistance it takes to remain a runner day after day makes you revert to it much easier throughout the rest of your daily life.
Running can change your life.