Why Running Helps Anxiety

As someone who has struggled with anxiety for a long time, I understand firsthand how debilitating it can be. It affects not only your mental state but also your physical wellbeing. Over the years, I’ve tried various methods to manage my anxiety, but one activity that has made a significant difference in my life is running.

The Science Behind It

When I lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement, I’m not just getting physical exercise; I’m also providing my brain with a powerful tool to combat anxiety. Research has shown that aerobic exercise, such as running, triggers the release of endorphins – often referred to as the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals.

Stress Relief

Running, for me, has become a way to release the stress and tension that builds up in my body and mind. The rhythmic motion of each step, combined with the steady flow of oxygen, creates a sense of calm that is hard to find elsewhere. It’s almost like a form of meditation in motion.

Distraction from Worries

When I’m out on a run, my focus shifts from my worries and anxious thoughts to the environment around me. I find myself paying attention to the sights and sounds of nature, which helps to break the cycle of negative thinking that often accompanies anxiety.

Empowerment and Confidence

One unexpected benefit of running for anxiety is the feeling of empowerment and confidence it brings. As I push myself to go a little further or a little faster, I prove to myself that I am capable of overcoming challenges. This sense of accomplishment carries over into other areas of my life, boosting my overall confidence.

Community and Support

Engaging in running has also allowed me to connect with a community of like-minded individuals who share similar struggles. Whether it’s through local running groups, online forums, or organized races, I’ve found a sense of support and camaraderie that has been immensely valuable in my journey to manage anxiety.

Professional Insight

I recently spoke with a sports psychologist, who emphasized the role of running in managing anxiety. They explained that the sense of control and mastery gained from running can counter the feeling of helplessness that often accompanies anxiety disorders.


Through my experience and the insights of professionals, it’s clear that running offers a multifaceted approach to managing anxiety. It’s not a cure-all, but for many, including myself, it’s a vital tool in the mental health toolkit. If you struggle with anxiety, I encourage you to give running a try. The benefits may surprise you.