Putting my hair in a ponytail and tying my sneaker laces, I would put my headphones on, play my music, and run. The colorful fall leaves would crackle after every stride. I would breathe in the fresh and crisp fall air, knowing that today would be a good run. The path was covered in leaves, hiding behind so much color. It didn't matter what music I was playing. All that mattered was this was something I was doing, for me.
Throughout high school, I was on cross country and a winter track and field team. I absolutely loved running; it was my own little escape. Running was perfect for me because I was never a huge fan of contact sports. I did not really focus on racing others, I focused on meeting my personal goals and being a better runner. My favorite part about running was that, all you needed was yourself and some open land to get started. Whether I was running for 7 miles or 1 mile, every run put me into a meditative state. After a long day at school, a good run would do the trick for turning that hard day, into a good one. I loved how running made me feel. I felt so much lighter and in control of my body, it was incredible.
Many girls on my team would run to race others. Of course that is the point of cross country running. But for me, it was simply a way to relax and decompress. I have struggled with anxiety my whole life, and running really helps me cope with it. When I run, my entire mind empties, and is blank. I am not thinking about things that stress me out or make me feel upset, I am just enjoying this time by myself with no worries.
When I came to college, it was a big adjustment not running everyday after school. I liked the consistency of running and it did good for my mind and my body. I would go to the gym at school and run on the treadmill but it just was not the same as my outdoor runs. There is something so different about running outside. There is a change of scenery, fresh air, not many around you. One night I was stressed from studying so much that I decided to go for a run around campus outside. It was so incredibly calming. Even though it was dark, I was in a complete relaxed state. It was not very cold, it was a perfect temperature for a run.
Running has so many amazing benefits and it can really help those who struggle with anxiety. It connects your mind and your body while also giving you the physical benefits of being in shape. We, as, college students have stressful lives and are constantly overwhelmed by different things. Every student needs a way to cope with that stress and anxiety. Whether it's meditating, going on a walk, listening to music, or doing yoga, it is essential to have an outlet where you can completely feel relaxed and in tune with your body. Find something that empties your mind and makes you feel like you can do anything. Running, for me, makes me feel limitless.