Stressing Out: Reaching the Finish Line On Your Own Terms
by Allison Bulliman, guest blogger and practice mate, Seattle Direct Counseling.
Everyone has stress at some point in their life. Any event or a big change brings out some good or bad stress. Have you ever wondered how an ER doctor can stay so calm when someone’s life is in their hands? Or what about others who love riding roller coasters, but you would not be caught dead standing in line? Stress is subjective to the person experiencing it. Some of us love that thrill of encroaching on a deadline for work or the high that the roller coaster gives you. Others of us have projects prepared weeks in advance and avoid anything that increases their heart rate.
I love getting my heart rate up while I am running half and full marathons, but I actually consider it fun and relaxing (I guess I am one of those running nuts). I find that training for the “next big thing” is a great form of consistent exercise for me. While I run these marathons a few times a year I always see those intense elite runners at the starting line looking to beat their last personal record. When I am halfway through my event (I do not use the word “race” since I am not trying to beat anyone, I am just trying to finish!) I will check my watch just to see how I am doing pace wise. Other racers check their pace every mile to make sure they do not fall behind their goal finish time. If they see themselves slipping, their run may become a bit more stressful, mentally and physically, in order to give them that edge to keep going, faster and stronger. Continue reading “Stressing Out: Reaching the finish line on your own terms”
When the Popchips Ashton Kutcher snafu burst on the Internet on May 3, 2012, I writhed in pain. I wanted to write something about racism without sounding like a lecturing minority or a sniveling child among my mainstream culture colleagues and peers. There is nothing like cries of racism to provoke attention: it is as eye-opening of a subject as getting smacked in the face with a wet trout [do not ask me how it feels to be hit with a trout, because sadly, I do know]. I’ve let a few days go by to allow this latest media incident to settle, not so much with the public, but with the “me” that was initially offended and exasperated. Now I’m ready to share a more personal and intimate look at my racist America.
Recently, I purchased a new pair of running shoes. As I ran along Alki Beach in Seattle, it didn’t take long before my body started to release some upper body tension (likely caused from sitting in front of the computer!), and my mind dropped its thoughts about appointments, seminars, writing projects, and the usual pile of mundane tasks. Passing runners, bikers, walkers, and inline skaters, I wondered how many of these everyday exercise enthusiasts were dedicated to the maintenance of their mental health as much as their physical health. Does exercise improve your mental health?
After a cursory look at the latest articles and studies on topic of exercise and mental health, most of the authors agree on several items. One of these items is simple: while we don’t know WHY exercise improves mental health symptoms, they all agree that exercise is beneficial in the treatment of mental health disorders and distress.