If you know me and my love of running, you will know that I will do everything and anything in my power to run outside. This means -20 wind chills, vaseline on my face to prevent windburn, or waking up at 4:00am to beat the heat. So as I begin this blog post, please keep that in mind.
I was walking into the YMCA the other day to buy a day pass to hop on a treadmill (gasp!). A nuisance shoulder injury is forcing me to run more (yay!), but this ice rink of a city is preventing a safe run outside. As I’m walking up to the treadmill, a series of automatic thoughts cross my mind and my anxiety level rises. Here are the things I was telling myself:
I hate treadmills and stationary workout machines, I would rather not work out at all than be on this thing.
I forgot my inhaler—great, I hope someone knows CPR.
No headphones either—looks like I’ll listen to my wheezing voice all run (insert eye-roll).
I’m hungry—almost hangry
My shoulder hurts. I’m sick of it hurting.
Have I even had water today???
UGH there are so many people here—who comes at 10:00am on a Thursday anyway? Don’t people work?!
And then I stopped. I played this track back to myself and realized how negative everything was that I was saying. Of course this was going to be an awful workout; not because I had to be on a treadmill, but because this negative script was playing on repeat through my brain!
With that, I took each negative phrase and made it positive while starting my jog:
I’m lucky that I’m healthy and able to run.
If your asthma flares up, you can stop and walk—again, lucky that I’m able-bodied enough to exercise.
Hey, look! ESPN sports center is on! I can watch highlights with subtitles.
Working out gives you energy, so you may feel tired now, but your body will thank you later.
Remember those snacks in the car!? Thank you, early-morning Nia for prepping those!
You’re making progress with your shoulder; slow and steady, but improvement is there and frustration isn’t going to help heal it faster.
Check that out, the YMCA has those fun water bottle filling stations and you have an empty water bottle. Problem. Solved.
I’m writing this because it is SO easy to run through countless negative thoughts in every situation of life. But, I challenge you all to be mindful of what you’re telling yourself. If we are continuously living life in a mindset of negativity, you will constantly be stressed, frustrated, sad, and mad. It takes small efforts to turn one sentence around to positive, then work on 2 positives, and so forth. This habit will soon grow to where your positives will significantly outweigh your negative thoughts.
Next time you walk into the gym exhausted or show up to work frustrated, try thinking of one reason you’re excited you’re at the gym, or reason you love your work. Maybe it’s picking out the things you love about your body instead of me staring at the imperfect fluff of stomach I can’t seem to shake off my abs. These small steps over time will help change your mindset from “I hate this” to “this isn’t so bad!”
I might not be great at this, but it’s something that I’m continuously striving to push myself to improve on.