Mental Exercise

My body does not enjoy running. It is painful, not painful because of any injury but because my body really wants to just sit on the couch and eat a sandwich. But I choose to run anyway, there are many reasons: fitness, stress relief, fresh air, making friends, enjoying nature etc. but as I ran this evening I thought about another reason that is probably more important than the others I listed - the mental exercise.

Since my body does not want to run, there is part of my brain that says to stop. Sometimes that part is really loud and makes a big fuss, but there is another part that wants to run, it wants to jump around and ride a bike and swim. These two parts of me are in constant battle while I'm running or doing anything really difficult. Everyone knows that exercise will strengthen your body, but this mental battle can also strengthen our minds. If you are looking for a greater ability to cope with stress, or if you need to get better at controlling your temper and emotions - try exercise. Not just because physical activity is a natural stress reliever but because the mental battle will also condition that other part of your brain, the one who has it all together.

I have said many times before, make it hurt now so it hurts less later. Mental conditioning is critical to improving your lifestyle. With a strong mind you are more capable of channeling that anger you feel into something productive, you can  even gain the power to choose how you feel. So get out and run, or bike or swim or whatever. Just do something hard until you hear that voice in your head that wants you to stop, then tell that voice to shut up and keep going.

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