How running can help overcome self-doubt

How running can help overcome self-doubt

We all know that running supports our mental health and wellbeing. In this post I want to focus on a particular aspect of our mental health; self-doubt, and how running can help to overcome this frustrating thought process that we often get caught in.

Self-doubt. That sinking feeling that makes us question ourselves, often to the point that we talk ourselves out of something that we really want to do or achieve. That loop of “but what if…” and internally feeling ‘frozen’: “I can’t do it”

Self-doubt can sabotage us. Every time it takes over, it is reinforced. It becomes more than a mere questioning of ourselves, it builds on itself and grows into limiting self-beliefs that we perceive as ‘facts’.

Running can be an extremely powerful way of overcoming self-doubt. Do you remember the first time you started to run? What thoughts did you have then? Have you come further than you thought possible? I remember when I started a couch to 5K and looked through the coming weeks on the app… “oh no, week 6 is running non-stop for 20 minutes… I’ll never do it… Maybe I should give up, I will fail” And then of course, we label ourselves as the failure and that’s before we even start!

Sound familiar?

But bit by bit, I did it and more. The more I chipped away at the doubt, the more ‘risks’ I began to take: You know what I mean; I call them ‘risks’ but that’s only because my self-doubt was telling me that aiming for 5K would be a threatening fail!!!!!

When we put one foot in front of the other (literally!), despite the doubts and limiting beliefs, instead of telling our subconscious “I can’t do it”, it starts to hear “I can do this”, “I’m trying this”.

New neural pathways are formed, what we have learnt about ourselves through running, begins to translate to other areas of life, and as we grow, our confidence grows. Our fear of failure shrinks because we start to learn that we can grow from the process.

Running helps us to connect to an inner strength, something that is always there and can’t be taken away by anyone. Once we access that strength and realise it is within us, it blossoms.

So, when in doubt, get those trainers on and put one foot in front of the other… step by step, you will show yourself that you are capable of so much more than self-doubt tells you. x

This article was written by Dr Joanna Astill, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Owner of Breakthrough Psychology Services and Co-owner of Stressed Out to Feeling Fabulous

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