RUNNING IS MY THERAPY 👍
By Scott Douglas
288 pp. The Experiment. $19.95.
“Running Is My Therapy” delves into the therapeutic link running provides those dealing with depression and/or anxiety. It does so at a level intended to embrace all individuals. Without declaring his greatness, author Scott Douglas is a great runner. Don’t let that intimidate you. Early on he succeeds in conveying the notion: if you run, you are runner. His words are comforting as he explains how running can ease the aforementioned afflictions by way of both scientific study and his personal experiences. Like antidepressants, it’s unknown exactly how running helps. However, Douglas goes about connecting the dots in such a way that it’s hard not to believe. As in, no one can prove fewer greenhouse gas emissions helps curb global warming, but…
Douglas doesn’t limit the book’s direction to running’s impact on solely managing depression. He discusses in depth running’s impact on overall brain health. The expectation is not that every reader is both a runner AND impacted by depression (but if that’s the case for you then all the better). Douglas acknowledges his depression but lack of anxiety and this may well be the reason depression holds much of the book’s focus. That’s not to say anxiety is not discussed as an entire chapter is dedicated to it. Without yet enlisting antidepressants or therapy, Douglas discusses how running and better lifestyle choices can improve your mood (ie: run exertion level, time of day to run, running in natural environments, social connections, diet, sleep, etc.). Moving on, he also describes some potential side effects of each of the more widely regarded antidepressants available. What’s appreciated in this book is just as Douglas shares his robust research on the different topics, you also get his personal accounting when the matter applies to him. Also, the reader will better understand the potential of both professional and non-professional talk therapy. You’ll become familiar with the terms Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mindfulness (“Stop looking at your damn watch and just run!”) and how they can lessen depression’s severity. Finally, a discussion of maintaining run goals at all times will keep you moving forward even when you may not have a race on the calendar.
In conjunction with running, Douglas goes about describing the many tools available for tackling depression. He references numerous scientific studies to support the logical conclusions of these different tools. In my view, it seemed “study-heavy” at times as I found myself re-reading this information in order to make sure I fully digested the science he’s conveying. However, maybe that’s my deficiency (and not his problem).
It’s refreshing that Douglas doesn’t try to represent running as the cure-all for maintaining mental health. He calls out this point making sure to declare running’s impactful limits. He also makes it deeply personal. Douglas describes in detail the different arrows in his own quiver he uses during his depressive episodes and why they may, or may not, work for others. If you’re like me, his accounting for his troubles will have you considering some experiences in your life. A pre read cursory look at “Running Is My Therapy” seemed to confirm my anticipation for this book. I eagerly jumped in and found this was an incredibly appropriate read for me. I’ve never been medically diagnosed with, nor have I ever sought treatment for, depression. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t wondered. As Douglas explains, for some, running is enough to manage depression. From a very early age, running has always made me feel better. Per Douglas “a healthy mind (or soul) in a healthy body” is Asics translated. Coincidentally, I’ve only ever worn Asics. Perhaps “Running Is My Therapy” will put your mind at ease, too.
#DidYouKnow courtesy “Running Is My Therapy”: Alberto Salazar once ran the Falmouth Road Race with such exertion that he was administered last rites.
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