Runner's World (UK) - - Body-Mind -

Karl Meltzer, who last year set the speed record for through-hik­ing the Ap­palachian Trail (av­er­ag­ing about 47 hilly miles a day over 45 days), copes with the pain by, ‘thinking about how for­tu­nate I am to be do­ing this’. Through­out his hike, Meltzer made a point of thank­ing his sup­port crew. ‘Show­ing grat­i­tude,’ he says, ‘al­most al­ways makes things bet­ter.’

Meltzer is on to some­thing: ex­press­ing grat­i­tude is ef­fec­tive be­cause it, ‘helps peo­ple tran­si­tion from a self-fo­cused and per­haps anx­ious mind­set to a more op­ti­mistic and con­tent one’. So says Emil­iana Si­mon-thomas, sci­ence direc­tor at Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Berke­ley’s Greater Good Sci­ence Cen­ter. And op­ti­mism, she adds, ‘opens the pos­si­bil­ity of a pos­i­tive out­come, which in and of it­self is very ben­e­fi­cial’. In fact, two re­cently pub­lished stud­ies found that per­form­ing acts of grat­i­tude and re­flect­ing on all you have to be grate­ful for pos­i­tively af­fected how sub­jects ex­pe­ri­enced pain and ef­fort.

When the go­ing gets tough, re­flect on the cir­cum­stances or peo­ple that have contributed to your be­ing out run­ning right now. Some ex­am­ples: your spouse, be­cause they watch the kids while you log miles; your body, be­cause it’s healthy; your em­ployer, be­cause your salary pays for run­ning gear and race regis­tra­tion. Even bet­ter, when you run through aid sta­tions mid-race, smile and thank the vol­un­teers; Si­mon-thomas says grat­i­tude is most pow­er­ful when you share it ver­bally with oth­ers.

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