Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

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Who Needs “GU” When You Have Gratitude?

on September 30, 2013

A really interesting phenomenon happened to me while on my epic 20-mile training run this past week (with Marine Corp Marathon less than a month away now, I’m happy I won’t see this type of distance again until the race!) Now, one might think that the fact my IT bands didn’t explore was miraculous in itself, but the thought worthy thing that happened to me wasn’t about my body pushing me the distance, it was my mind.

My younger brother shared an old You Tube video with me (see below) for a study done on happiness in 2005. The therapist in me LOVES to come across this type of stuff – I think it can greatly help my clients while simultaneously taking me back to my values and core beliefs! The study explored how something as simple as expressing “thanks” caused an increase in pleasure and happiness for the study’s participants (and, the video got me choked up a bit just watching this experiment play out!)

It’s something so small, yet so profound. How often do we stop and “thank” the people in our lives? How nice is it when you hear somebody thank you for your hard work or efforts, whether it’s warranted or not? Hell, I’m appreciative when I hold the door for somebody and they give me so much as a smile. But what does this have to do with (undoubtedly crazy) act of running 20 miles?

My boyfriend (bless his heart) has taken on the task of being my bike escort and/or running buddy for my long runs throughout my training. Knowing this latest one would, without a doubt, be the most trying, he pulled out all the stops to encourage me to keep going. What was most impactful, however, was mile 17 to 18. At this point, my legs feel heavy as lead, my left knee is screaming obscenities at me, and my mentality is “maybe I can just stop now”. He says to me, “How about we list the things we’re thankful for, like that YouTube video?”

Boom. Not only did I spend a mile thanking everything from him, to my friends, to my family, to the folks at Rock Tape, Brooks, and Honey Stinger, but when the Garmin beeped at mile 18, I realized I hadn’t even thought about my aching legs, and I actually had a renewed sense of hopefulness and energy. The power of the mind, man. Blows me away every time!

So, in sum, check out this video, and try a dose of gratitude the next time you’re feeling gloomy. You may be surprised how you feel.

Happy Thanking, everyone!

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