Six ways not to be miserable

  • Serenity and mental balance can also come from seemingly minor behaviors and habits.
  • These tips, listed by Psychology Today, can adapt to life in general and not just running.
  • They are simple, practical and very useful!


An interesting article in Psychology Today describes some ways to find serenity by acting on simple levers. In fact, there are things that we need to pay attention to and avoid in order to feel better. The cases described are generic, but we thought they could also fit well into sports life and running.
Here they are.

1. Don’t be obsessed with your cell phone

By now we can no longer part with it, and for many (even good) reasons. Being offline is a luxury and much of our lives now depend on our reachability through cell phones.

However, there are ways to moderate our dependence on it, limiting it to really necessary cases.
– Do not have any social networking apps installed
– Use only really useful apps (email, agenda, phone, bank, running app, of course)
– Do not use it after a certain time at night
– Pick up a book (and read it!) when tempted to check out Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.

2. Don’t compare yourself to others

We play a sport that measures everything: times, distances, millimeters of midsole. Not comparing oneself to others is however difficult, often not considering a key factor: we are not the others, and the idea we have of them is based on assumptions that are often very haphazardly drawn. How fast this one and that one run a half marathon are objective data but how they did it – forget for a moment that maybe they are more athletically inclined than we are – is not given to know exactly. But does it really matter then? Do you really need to measure your life against the lives of others?

Do you know why this happens? Do you know why we often compare ourselves with others? Because we do not know ourselves well, and that is, we do not know our real needs well. If we knew this, we would try to satisfy them and not exchange them for others’ and end up being frustrated by them because… we are not the others.

In short, ask yourself what can give you peace of mind regardless of everything and everyone. Run a half marathon and who cares about how fast. Train once more a week. Take a trip.
Anything, as long as you really do it because you want to and because you think it will be good for you, not because others are doing it.

3. Do not procrastinate

We all compile very long and punctilious to-do lists of more or less important things to do. Some do it in writing, some use apps, some keep them in mind. The result in each case is that we can’t keep up with it, and it causes us a lot of discomfort. We always have the feeling that we cannot complete what we have to do, and the feeling is made even more unpleasant by the fact that the mind is gratified when it finds that something has been done. And it gets frustrated if it doesn’t happen.

How then to do it? Don’t make to-do list? Of course not, unfortunately we have and always will have things to do. One thing that can be done instead is to divide this list into things that can be done quickly and others that take longer. In short, not mixing everything together is already a starting point.

By doing things faster you will get two results: a lot of satisfaction because the mind will see so many checkmarks and more time and mental space to do the more challenging ones.
To then start attacking the latest.

4. Don’t be negative

There is nothing wrong with thinking about negative things. This is a very ancient and very functional mental mechanism: it is used to search in memory for past events that are not pleasant in order to avoid them in the present, or to compare situations we are experiencing to these in order to figure out how to deal with them. It is, in other words, a defense system with which we protect ourselves from potential misfortunes.

Dwelling on these thoughts, however, has a perverse effect because it leads you to think that if something went wrong in the past it will surely do so forever, renewing the discomfort.

In short, one must keep a safe distance with negative thoughts, looking at them as a cliff on which one might crash if one does not change course but on which it is by no means certain that one will crash. In fact, thinking so presupposes that we do not believe that we have any power over the direction of our lives, and we do, very much so.

So assess the risk of certain situations but do not think that the worst has to happen. Remember also that anxiety is a projection of a fear and sense of danger into the future, and does not refer to what is happening to you right now. Therefore, you are not in danger now but you fear that you will be in danger in the future.

5. Do not set boundaries

We are complex beings, you know. Our life is a (in)stable balance between different spheres: work, family, ourselves, society. When one or more of these areas weighs more than the others, it is inevitable that they will suffer. You work hard and have satisfaction from it but neglect your family. You devote yourself only to this one but have no other satisfaction. The cases are different but we have all known them well or badly.

How to try to limit the power of one over the other? Setting impassable boundaries. For example, do not allow your work to creep into your personal life. And, likewise, do not bring bad moods from home to work.

Okay, but in practical terms? There is a beautiful and very useful seemingly crazy system, and it involves planning your schedule by including time for yourself (the so called “me-time”) along with time for family and work. And in the me-time for you put in what you want, from workouts to reading to DIY. However, do not neglect others as well. Establishing boundaries means devoting attention to what is within them, preventing them from encroaching on each other.

6. Not taking care of you

This could be the billionth time we repeat it and also the billionth time we win nothing by repeating it: mens sana in corpore sano. Oh my God, again? Yes, again. For one simple reason: if you neglect the care of your body and mind, it is unlikely that certain positive stimuli will come to you from outside. A balanced relationship with others and with life inevitably comes from a minimum level of personal satisfaction.

Thinking well, being well in one’s body, resting, eating good things, are all actions that realize a condition of care and attention to oneself. To then be more in balance with others.

And if you’re running you’ve already checked that box. And your mind is grateful for that.


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