Are you a happy runner? It is true that running can make you feel happier. It helps release endorphins in the brain, gets you in better shape, allows you to set attainable goals, provides a supportive social group and improves your self-esteem. All these factors help make us runners feel happier.
But did you know that being happier can also help make you a better runner? Have you noticed that when you feel great, running seems so much more effortless than when you are not feeling so great? This is not just a coincidence. When you are feeling happy, you can get in the flow more easily and enjoy the ultimate running experience known as runners high more often.
Happiness creates an advantage of its own!
A study conducted in 2013 tested 240 athletes and results showed happiness predicted 42% of athletic success. When you are happy, you are more likely to be successful.
Happiness has also been known to reduce stress. If you are running more relaxed, more effortlessly and experiencing runners high more often, you are much less likely to suffer from running pain and much more likely to become an injury free runner!
But there are so many more benefits of being happy. True feelings that are associate with happiness such as love, joy and gratitude can synchronize the rhythms in the brain and heart. This enhanced, optimized state is known as coherence and can be scientifically measured as research by the HeartMath Institute has shown. When in this coherent state, the body's systems operate more efficiently resulting in a greater balance of emotions, increased mental clarity and brain function. In this condition our brains and bodies function better, we feel better and we perform better. We can be a happy runner!
How does happiness affect our energy? Strong elevated feelings such as love, joy and gratitude have a high frequency of energy making us feel happier, more resilient and energetic. However, negative thoughts and emotions represent a low frequency of energy and have the opposite effect on our bodies. We don't feel happy and we have low energy.
The next time you are around happy, energetic people, take time to notice how you feel when you are in their company. They radiate positive energy as they vibrate on a higher frequency which can be felt by others. When we feel good, it is highly unlikely that we will experience any pain while running. So how can we experience happiness more often?
Is it possible to choose to be happy whenever we want? We have been conditioned to believe that happiness is caused by factors outside our control, such as the circumstances in our work and home lives. However, scientists are now realizing that happiness is largely a chemical experience that takes place within us! This is great news as this means we can take action to increase our happiness regardless of our current circumstances or what is happening around us. We can choose to be happy!
How can we begin to feel happier and become a happy runner now? Happiness is felt in the heart area. Notice how you feel when something really great happens in your life or think back on a really special moment. Notice how thinking about this memory feels and the sensations present in your body.
Remembering a happy moment and how you felt during that moment re-creates those emotions in your body and the associated chemical reaction of happiness. So whenever you want to feel happier, you can mentally re-live and enjoy a happy moment. Chemicals that induce happiness will be released in your body and you will naturally experience the positive effects.
What other ways can we create feelings of happiness in our lives? Below is a list of simple things we can do on a regular basis.
Allow yourself to enjoy how good it is to be happy!
Get The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work! Author, Shawn Achor, reveals how rewiring our brain for happiness helps us achieve more in all aspects of our lives. He denounces conventional thinking that happiness comes from success as science now says this is backward and happiness fuels success. Not the other way around!
We can make a choice to be happier and healthier and have less injuries as a result, but we need to practice this mindset. Every day we make this decision by how we response to the events in our lives. It won't always be easy but the more we practice making our happiness our priority, the more natural it becomes for us to feel this way. The positive affects and success that happiness brings are strong motivations for us to work at raising our vibrational energy to a higher level. Let's make happiness and becoming a happy runner our next goal!
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