Runners' Therapy in Ely And Newmarket: Using Your Mind To Boost Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

It's been twenty or so years since I took up running properly. Before that I'd done a bit of jogging and running but in a much more haphazard and inconsistent way. Over the last two decade, except for time out with injuries, I've pretty much kept on donning my trainers and heading out of the door.

To my mind, running reflects so many aspects of life. There are the good times, and the not so good: the smooth times when you feel on top of the world, and those where you have to draw upon every ounce of persistence and determination to overcome challenges. Both inside and outside of running, you can have all sorts of inner dialogue, thoughts, feelings, expectations and beliefs. 

When I suffered with anxiety, low confidence and low self-esteem, running was my crutch for everything. I would run after a good day and also to try and cope and deal with the less good days. I would run to try and feel better in myself, often succeeding for a while, yet the anxiety and mental health challenges in the rest of my life remained.

If I missed a run I would feel irritable, tense, frustrated and down. I could even go so far to say that in those days when my mental health struggles were the strongest, I felt like I absolutely needed to run and I had to run just to keep afloat in my life. Unless you've struggled with your mental health and experienced the highs that running can bring, you may struggle to understand the intensity of feeling and the need and desperation that comes from finding a way to demonstrate your own worth to yourself (and others), to find relief from the suffering and the need to run in order to cope.

There are many, many mental health benefits that come from exercise, yet running doesn't always allow for full mental health recovery and relief, and those same old unwanted thoughts and feelings can continue to hold you back in other aspects of your life. 

runners therapy ely confidence self esteem hypnotherapy

 

Running With Low Confidence and Low Self-Esteem 

When low confidence and low self-esteem were major factors in my life, my running was my psychological safe place. If something was on my mind and I felt anxious or stressed, which was very often the case from work, I could push all that adrenaline into my running. Thinking about my route and pace and a million and one other things would drive down the negative emotions and interrupt a lot of the worrying and overthinking.

As someone who worried excessively about what other people thought about me, I liked that running was only down to me. If a run went badly for some reason, then I wasn't letting anyone else down or being some sort of public failure. When a run or race went well, I would get a shot of worth, confidence and positivity that might sometimes last for up to a few days.  After all, why care what anyone else thinks when you've just smashed a good 10km or completed a marathon?

Yet inevitably. the automatic and habitual negative, self-critical, anxious thinking and emotions would find their way back in and my mental health and well-being would be just about back to where it started. Running would support my mental health yet never quite let me break past the barriers inside my own head.

The confidence and boost from running never fully made it into the other areas of my life, like social situations. And, if I felt low or pretty rubbish in myself, that negative inner dialogue would unleash its harshness upon my own uselessness.

If you are a runner who struggles with your mental health, whether during running or in life, then I can tell you honestly that it doesn't have to be like that. Running can become an addition to your good mental health, rather than something you need to do to cope and to feel a sense of worth for a while. Without doubt, you can learn to find yourself feeling confident and capable both in your running and into the other aspects of your life. You can discover how to feel good, support and encourage yourself, and enjoy the process of doing so.

 

Runners' Mental Health and Exercise  

Exercise has massive, well researched benefits for your mental health.

Aerobic exercise can help you to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, protect your memory from the impact of stress, and help keep your brain healthier for longer. And as well as the mental helath benefits of running, it also helps to keep you physically healthier with a reduced risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality.

I've covered lots more about the research supporting exercise for your mental health and physical well-being in these articles:

Ely Festive 5k 2019 and Why You Should Get Running For Your Mental Health

Depression: Does aerobic exercise have anti-depressant effects?

Anxiety Disorders - Why you should get moving to treat anxiety

Exercise & Mental Health - Depression, Stress & Memory

With all these positive impacts, it's no wonder that so many runners use running to support their mental health and well-being. Yes, sometimes running can bring temporary relief, and yet runners may need additional help and support in order to feel better and to build confidence and self-esteem.

 

Runners' Therapy: Boost Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

My freedom from anxiety, low confidence and low self-esteem came through hypnotherapy (and still running!). Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the treatment of anxiety (The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy as a Treatment For Anxiety) and it is an excellent way of boosting your confidence and self-esteem across all aspects of yourself and your life. In addition, the research shows that adding hypnosis to cognitive behavioural therapy leads to improved positive outcomes from therapy (Hypnosis Enhances Results Of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Updated Science and Evidence).

As a runner, you already have many personal resources to call upon. Whatever your running level and experience, you'll have needed to call upon motivation, persistence and determination, and you will have experienced moments of confidence and running well. All of these are transferable traits into other aspects of your life. If you feel confident from running and racing, then you can take that into other aspects of your life. You can learn how to manage the inner dialogue inside your head and how to regulate your emotions effectively whenever you choose.

Our past experiences, perceptions, beliefs, sense of identity and our habitual thoughts and feelings, all shape how we think and feel and go through life. Yet all of these things can be managed, changed and taken control over. 

Rather than needing running, or using it to cope and experience flashes of confidence and positivity, you can move to enjoying your running, feeling confident and having a true sense of inner worth. You can start to enjoy being you and enjoying running to your best, feeling confident and comfortable in yourself, improving your running performances, and feeling good being you into every aspect of your life.  

 

To your confidence and self-esteem, 

Dan Regan

Online Skype and Zoom Hypnotherapy  

Face-to-face hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

 

Runner's Therapy: Struggling with anxiety, stress, worry and fear and need some help? Want to increase your confidence and self-esteem? Find out how I can help you with a Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session. Learn more here: Appointments

Find out what dozens of other people have said after their hypnotherapy sessions with Dan: Hypnotherapy Testimonials

And check out these powerful hypnosis downloads that can start helping you increase your confidence and self-esteem right away: Hypnosis Downloads