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10 lessons to learn from running

10 lessons to learn from running

running is on fashion

     

    Running is in fashion. Just look around, and you’ll realize streets are crowded by people passing by you in those shiny wet clothes, smiling and drinking something too sweet to be healthy…

    I have to confess that I am a runner, and a proud one, and running has taught me some useful lessons, not just to have better runs, but also to have a better life. So maybe you are a runner or maybe not, but in any case there are many useful lessons that can be learnt from this mass sport, in order to live a better life. Here you are 10 of them:

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    1. You don’t need anything to start running

    Well, maybe sport shoes; it doesn’t look comfortable at all to run on stiletto heels… But if you actually want to run, ok, just do it.

    As an entrepreneur, sometimes I’ve been wandering about the potential success of a business plan. And the only real way to proof it will be successful is to start it. So go outside and run; it’s easier and cheaper than you think!

    2. The good news comes at the end

    During a long run, let’s say, 10K or more, some people start at a very fast pace, just to discover any sign of strength is out of their body by the mid-race. So start quietly, focus on the end, on the final reward – refreshments, your family greeting, or whatever makes you feel good. And keep going. At the end of the day, do you want to go fast, or do you prefer reaching far destinations?

    3. Listen to your body

    You think you can cope with everything, don’t you? Business, family, friends, social life… and after a while, your body starts complaining and you feel back pain, or maybe some headaches now and then. Runners listen to their body, and slow down if necessary. Your body speaks –sometimes very loud- so listen to it before it is too late.

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    4. Talk to your body

    Have you ever asked your hips to help you in a race, once you notice your legs are tired? This is one of the greatest lessons you can learn from running: your body listens to you. Once you tell it why you are running and what you are running for, maybe it will accept some extra workload. It is just a dialog between you and your body, in which every part becomes aware of other’s needs and wishes. Maybe then you will realize your body is more skilled than what you think, and it is able to reach what looked like unreachable.

    Have you ever asked someone for a little help at work? Most of the times, it works!

    5. Enjoy your accomplishments

    Running, and life in general, is too demanding itself, so we’d better don’t add extra demands. Did you run one mile? Very good! Enjoy it, and then go for the next one.

    Runners that only look at how many miles away is the finish line, will hardly reach it. So celebrate, and keep going.

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    6. Keep away from addictions

    I’m not talking about substances, either legal or not, but the addiction to run. Runners feel good while running, so they could be tempted to run more and more. But life is something else. For example, not running.
    Are you a runaholic? (Or a workaholic, or a partyholic) take a deep breath and relax. Just in case.

    7. You can enjoy on your own and in a group

    Running can be played alone. It is only you and the path. It is one of the best moments to be aware of your best self, celebrating life. My best ideas pop while running alone, since my mind is free to ramble and explore new ways.
    And running can also be played in group. This is a very good opportunity to adapt your performance to others’, to ask for help if needed and, of course, to bring some words of encouragement to the most tired runners. While running with others, I have discovered I can enjoy the run at more than 11 minutes per mile, and at less than seven. Groups helped me discover I can change and keep enjoying.

    8. The challenge is not against anything

    You don’t need to beat the time. You don’t need to beat your friend. It is not against the world. Running is just the opposite: you take your skills, put them into practice, and results come alone. Want to run? Then enjoy it. Make yours the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster, Higher, Stronger) and drive your run. Celebrate your accomplishments and do not forget to celebrate your eventual underperformance, because it is a sign that you are a real human being, not just a running machine.

    9. Setting goals improves performance

    Sometimes it is good to “just run”, but setting clear goals helps you track your performance and, thus, celebrate your achievements. Take into account that a goal must be SMART enough (that is, Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bounded) in order to be effective. “To finish a Marathon after a sixteen-week plan” could be a goal, while “To be the best runner” is not. At all.
    And, of course, do not forget to make your goals public, so that everyone around can support you. Please, do avoid

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    functionality comes first

      pessimistic people.

      10. Image comes after functionality

       Whether you are a fashion victim or not, function comes first for running items. Do you need a new pair of running shoes? Try at least ten pairs, and choose the most comfortable ones. Then, if you like, ask for color possibilities.
      A race is not a parade –though sometimes it may look like- and you should be aware even a pretty shirt could make you suffer during a run, so remember what you are asking for when going to the mall. Of course I am not saying image is not important. I love when my wife says “you are looking good in these pants!” but purpose is more important than that. As in real life.

      I hope some of these 10 lessons help you have better runs, and a better life. Do you have some more lessons to be learned? Would you like to share them? I look forward reading them!

      Featured photo credit: Marathon Style / Michael Villanueva via farm3.staticflickr.com

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      How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

      Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

      Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

      I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

      You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

      Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

      When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

      I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

      Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

      Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

      Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

      1. The Inner Critic

      This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

      • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
      • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
      • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
      • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

      He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

      Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

      2. The Worrier

      This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

      He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

      Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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      3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

      He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

      He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

      He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

      4. The Sleep Depriver

      This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

      His motivation can be:

      • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
      • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
      • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
      • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

      How can you control these squatters?

      How to Master Your Mind

      You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

      Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

      There are two ways to control your thoughts:

      • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
      • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

      This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

      The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

      Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

      For the Inner Critic

      When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

      You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

      For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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      You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

      “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

      If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

      • He riles up the Worrier.
      • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
      • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
      • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
      • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

      Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

      Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

      For the Worrier

      Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

      Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

      You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

      • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tense

      Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

      If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

      Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

      “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

      Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

      If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

      Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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      Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

      For example:

      If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

      “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

      Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

      “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

      Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

      For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

      Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

      The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

      • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tension

      I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

      Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

      Breathe in through your nose:

      • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
      • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
      • Focus on your belly rising.

      Breathe out through your nose:

      • Feel your lungs emptying.
      • Focus on your belly falling.
      • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

      Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

      Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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      One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

      Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

      For the Sleep Depriver

      (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

      I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

      Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

      1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
      2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

      When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

      From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

      For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

      If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

      You can also use this technique any time you want to:

      • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
      • Shut down your thinking.
      • Calm your feelings.
      • Simply focus on the present moment. 

      Becoming the Master of Your Mind

      Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

      You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

      Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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