Running can be more than just exercise.

I love to run. I have found it to be not only a good way to keep fit but also really helpful in the battle to control my mind. This last weekend I went for a run along one of my usual routes, the old railway line between my hometown of Calne and Chippenham. Usually, I would run the 10km there and then 10km back, this time, however, I walked back. When running I listen to music or podcasts, on this walk though, I decided to just listen to nature.

The effect a walk like this can have on your mental state is remarkable. I am often wary of going on long walks because I am prone to overthinking, I so often descend into a place of darkness because of it. This walk, however, was so calming that it has given me a whole new outlook. The peaceful nature of my chosen route only served to help this.

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The coffee problem

Whenever I feel myself getting stressed or anxious, one of the first things I like to do is get a cup of coffee. This is initially all I need to calm down. My level of attentiveness shoots up and my productivity increases dramatically. Unfortunately, this boost in energy and alertness comes with a major downside, the big increase in stress hormones such as cortisol. This coupled with the blocking of happiness hormone production tends to actually lead to an increase in my anxiety. The big issue is that when my anxiety levels increase, all I want to do is to drink more coffee, further fuelling these issues.

Scientifically¬†speaking, there are studies that support this. The effects of caffeine on people with anxiety and depression have long been studied. There is evidence that in small amounts caffeine can be of benefit to those with these conditions. In larger quantities it can have the opposite effect, blocking the production of happy hormones and increasing the production of stress hormones. The issue I have is that caffeine doesn’t appear to be the problem for me, I can happily drink green tea all day without issue.

It took me a long time to work out that coffee, alone, as a beverage was the thing that was fuelling my problems. Despite now knowing this, I still have the problem because I cannot easily escape my dependence on coffee. Tea does not provide the same calming effect for me, even though I also don’t get the negative effects. All in all, I need to find a middle ground, it would be foolish to think I can completely give up coffee, but for my mental state, I need to try and cut back.

The amazing relaxation spots in Wiltshire.

This post is a part of my series looking into health and what we can do to keep ourselves healthy, while still enjoying life.

Click below to access the hub page for the health series:

A push for perfect health

20th April 2018

Every so often I like to remind myself just how amazing the county that I live in is. It is so easy to forget when you are driving past these places every day. I live less than 10 minutes from the world heritage site of Avebury, and about half an hour from Stonehenge. There is so much amazing countryside right on my doorstep, and I don’t know if I really appreciate it.

Today I went to Devizes to get a coffee and then drove to Silbury Hill to enjoy it in peace. I hope to go to one of our amazing landmarks or beauty spots after work every Friday during the coming summer.

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21st April 2018

This morning I drove into Marlborough from my hometown of Calne. The drive between these two towns only takes about 20 minutes, but it takes you through some of the best countryside this country has to offer. There are no mountains or valleys, no forests, nor any vast lakes but the chalk downs, rolling fields and abundance of ancient landmarks makes it such a beautiful place. This drive between the historic market town of Calne, the place Dr Joseph Priestley was living when he discovered oxygen and the even more historic town of Marlborough, where a burial mound dating back to around 2400BC is located within the grounds of the college, is one of the most amazing drives you can take. In particular, the stretch of road that goes through Cherhill past one of Wiltshire’s many famous white horses is particularly pleasant, especially in the sun with the windows down.

Supporting Mind: the mental health charity.

This post is a part of my series looking into health and what we can do to keep ourselves healthy, while still enjoying life.

Click below to access the hub page for the health series:

A push for perfect health

 


 

Earlier this year I took part in a sponsored event, RED January is an event where you are tasked with Running Every Day in January (hence RED). This is in support of Mind, a UK based mental health charity. Mind offer support and advice to people with mental health issues as well as campaigning to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

I am a huge supporter of this as well as other people and charities who are helping those who fight with their own thoughts every day. Although I myself have never sought help directly from Mind or any other mental health charity, I feel I have benefited from the work that they do by the fact that I feel able to talk about my problems. The understanding of these issues has come such a long way and I hope that it keeps moving that way.

If you would like more information regarding Mind and the work they do please visit the link below.

Mind: for better mental health

If you are not from the UK and have any information about any of the great charities that work for this cause in your countries please feel free to share in the comments. Let’s provide a directory of charities from all over the world to help all those who need it.

Freezing shower?

I have just read that as well as having well documented benefits for your skin, turning the shower water to freezing just before you get out can increase your ability to cope with the effects of anxiety and stress.

Has anyone tried this?

I feel like if there is any measurable benefit to this, even if it is purely psychological, it is something worth doing. If such an easy change can make a difference it has to be worth it right?

Food for thought.