Guess who went running in the gorgeous fall weather this week? That’s right, yours truly! While I don’t think I will ever be excited to run in the summer sun and heat (curse you, August!), the prospect of jogging through the neighborhood with brightly colored trees, a breeze in my hair and crunchy leaves at my feet, is enough to make me jump out of bed and get going…well, after I’ve had my morning coffee, that is.
Yesterday, I felt great. The weather was perfect and I was running faster than I’ve run in the past year, totally jamming along to The Greatest Showman (geek alert!) Towards the end though, I was starting to feel tired, and my right hamstring was acting up. I could feel the downward shift in my body and also in my attitude. And that’s when it happened. I caught sight of my shadow.
Not feeling as great as when I first started out, my shoulders were slumped over, my head was down, and my pace was slower.
Oh hell no, I thought, as I saw this silhouetted image of myself looking a little downtrodden. I am not going to struggle throughout the rest of this run and I am not going to let any difficulty steal my joy.
So what did I do? I straightened up, and watched myself do so, by keeping eye on that lovely little shadow. Instead of running hunched over, defeated, and unhappy, I engaged my core, straightened up, and lifted my head high. I might have even put a little smile on my face.
That body shift was the cue I needed to transform my mindset, as well. In other posts, we’ve dished about how your words can influence and define your experience, but your body too?
Yes! I am the proof. Carrying myself as a confident person as I scooted along made me feel confident, and my mindset changed, right along with it. Yeah, that’s right, I AM the greatest show, thank you Hugh Jackman! I was able to finish strong and even had negative splits, which is running-speak for progressively taking time off each sequential mile.
I was so impressed by the change in myself from this one little action of standing tall that I of course had to talk about this with my good friend Google.
Here’s what I found. Research shows that when you slouch, you compress the space for your lungs, reducing their capacity by up to 30%” (Ummm, this probably explains my negative splits…I actually increased my lung capacity just by transitioning to an upright position.)
This also has an impact on your brain. According to Erik Peper, professor and researcher at San Fransisco State University, “[More oxygen] can help your brain function better, as well as help you think more clearly because you feel calmer and confident.” He says, “You have a choice. It’s about using an empowered position to optimize your focus.”
It’s not all in my mind! Okay, it does take place in the brain, but there is scientific proof for this little phenomenon. I actually did feel more confident, clear-headed, and thus, more joyful.
Basically, even if your mind is struggling to say, “Hey, have confidence, be proud and stand tall,” your body will get the job done for you. That one tiny shift in body language will put you on the road to good thoughts and bad-assery.
So From Now On, when you’re Walking the Tightrope and find yourself losing steam, unsure of yourself, and you feel you’re Never Enough, simply stand tall and Come Alive! You too, are the greatest show. (*If this last reference is a little over your head, go watch The Greatest Showman this weekend!) 🙂