Running with your crisis

By Charlie Brian Ambler

It is noon on a Sunday, you wake up in the clothes you wore last night. You are extremely hungover and the only thing messier than you is the state of your room. Your head is pounding from last night’s licentious behavior.

You get up, have a glass of water, take an Advil, charge your phone, and hop in the shower. The scariest part of all is that this is just the beginning. It is only Sunday and you have an entire week filled with problems to solve. 

What happens next, happens to all of us. What every Emerson student faces, whether they go out on the weekend or not, is a stressful week ahead. Sundays force students to acknowledge their reality—due dates, portfolio work, financial issues…the list goes on. 

When Monday comes and Tuesday follows, responsibilities build and things go wrong.

So, you’re sitting there on your bed, not knowing what is up and what is down. You don’t know how much is left in your bank account, and you don’t know if that person you’ve been talking to likes you back. You have ten missed calls from your group project and your mother is wondering how that internship application is going. So, what do you do?

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You run.

You lace up your sneakers, put down your phone, and run.

The act of running is seen by many as simply a sport or a way to workout and stay fit, but running is so much more than that. Running is a unique and powerful tool that can be used to clear the mind and help students stabilize the turbulent moments they face on a weekly basis. 

There are many ways in which people can combat stress and anxiety. It is a personal choice and each differs in terms of how it can affect you. Yoga and meditation are great forms of natural, self-help activities in which one can practice. However, according to the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, the act of running separates itself from numerous remedies as it is a form of exercise that is unmatched with regards to its therapeutic benefits. Sleep cycle improvement, mental stabilization, and a heightened sense of clarity can all come as benefits for those who pursue running.

The issue with running is these benefits are not well known, and the numerous psychological effects the act of running has on you are widely unheard of. This needs to change. 

According to the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, when a person goes for a jog, the body feels something known as the “runner’s high.” This occurs when the body releases endorphins and is a key part of the process. An intense, euphoric feeling is imposed on the body and mind of the runner. This enhances the runner’s mood and a sense of clarity spurs from this transition. It is a pivotal moment for your mind and it does not stop there. What makes the act of running so powerful for someone is its long-term effects

After the cardiovascular activity, the body and mind are able to spark the formation of new blood vessels, which help act as sustenance for the mind, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. New brain cells in specific areas are produced over the course of what is called neurogenesis. From this, the brain improves its overall function and cognitive functioning.

If students added running into their daily schedules, they would be able to focus for longer periods of time, thus causing their academics to potentially improve. The cognitive dissonance that forms in every student’s mind due to the accumulation of work and lack of sleep, will dissipate once they literally run it off

Running improves a student’s focus, sleep, and can act as a tremendous antidepressant, according to Science Direct. For those who wish to find aid for a mental health issue, if they don’t have access to therapy or other outlets—running is here to help. It does not matter how far someone runs or for how long; ignore the miles and enjoy the act. 

The previous year has provided many students with a sense of isolation. Loneliness has been experienced by every Emerson student. Today, isolation is still felt on campus due to the college’s stringent guest policies. 

This uneasiness and stress could possibly be relieved, but of course, there is no magic bullet for the matter. 

Running outside and being surrounded by nature has been proven to decrease feelings of loneliness or isolation. It just so happens that Emerson students live across from America’s oldest park—Boston Common, a great place to run outside. 

Emerson students are go-getters at heart. They are driven for success and that is why they have been accepted to such a prestigious institution. However, everyone needs help at times. Running is here as an aid and can help give students that much-needed support when it comes to their sleep, academics, and mental health.

The phrase, “you cannot run away from your problems,” should be said with an immense amount of caution. I do not want you to run away from your issues, I want you to run over them.