I signed up for a half-marathon this summer and training has kicked my butt!
However, I learned a lot about its benefits for our mental and emotional health, as well as physical, of course…
With May being #mentalhealthawareness month, I’ve been more attentive to the topics and trends going around and it’s no joke. I realize that more and more, as I get older. We make sarcastic comments about ourselves or others, we joke, we laugh, we “move on,” when in reality, it affects us more than we know. It’s important to take care of yourself in every way. Including mentally.
With that being said, I want to share something God revealed to me as I’ve trained for this half-marathon:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.1 Corinthians 9:24.
It’s interesting what happens during a run – you go through so many emotions! One mile, you feel okay, like you got this. And then the next one you feel completely defeated, like a failure. Then the next mile, you feel a little more confident, maybe a lot. And it ping-pongs back and forth until you’re done!
But with each running session, every thought and emotion gets a little more controlled and strategic. You learn how to think purposefully, your song/podcast choices become intentional, you’re more in tune with your pace and heart rate, and overall how to keep going when you want to give up.
You train your mind and emotions (your internal state of being, really) as you train your body.
Cause while you focus on your body, you subconsciously make your internal state work. You discipline it. You tell yourself over and over “you can do this,” “don’t quit,” “you got this.” It’s not just your body working out, but your internal state as well.
It’s easier to train your mind when you’re also training your body! How cool is that?
Get Discipline In Every Area Of Your Life
When people tell me how “busy” or “out of tune” they’ve been with themselves, my first thought is to ask them how often they exercise. Knowing it can be a more sensitive topic, I rarely get to. But it truly is an important part of our life. Not only is it physically healthy, but it’s also good for us on the inside, our internal state of being. It helps us get into that “disciplined” lifestyle we say we need or should have but often avoid.
Because exercise is a constant discipline, it eventually trickles into other areas of your life. It gently forces you to eat more healthy, to get more rest and sleep, etc. And every area of your life seems to align more. Even though we all go through various seasons, I believe that if at least one area in your life has constant and healthy discipline, it’ll pass on to other areas.
When I get into a rut or frenzy, I know I need to assess how I’m living my life all around, including how I’m exercising! It takes a while to realize this sometimes, but it definitely helps me get into a better state. Sometimes it’s deeper than how I’m physically working out or what I’m eating, and so I look into other areas where I’m usually consistent. For example:
Journaling helps me process my thoughts and emotions, and so when I get mental fatigue or stress out, I know that one area I can look at is my notebooks and journals, and ask myself:
- When was my last journal entry?
- What did I write about?
- How did it help me?
- Will it help me right now?
Another area for me is Bible reading. When I get easily overwhelmed by the smallest things, it’s most likely because I haven’t been feeding myself with the Word of God. When I get confused or frustrated about my purpose, it’s probably because I haven’t sat at Jesus’s feet.
Catch my drift?
Ultimately, when we exercise, run, work out, or do some kind of physical activity, it’s not just your body doing the work, but your internal state as well.
Your thoughts, emotions, motives, spiritual beliefs, your values, character and personality, and anything else that composes your being. It’s all getting a workout!
You get stronger, more defined, and refined as a person.
As a concluding thought, this verse helps me remember to stay disciplined and live with integrity:
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. Proverbs 12:11
What are your thoughts on that?
P.S. Do you run? Exercise?
P.P.S. How do you work discipline into your life? What helps you?