I noticed something this past week. While involved in an extended conflict (no names…) , my workouts thrived. I increased the speed and distance of my runs. I added weight and intensity to my resistance workout. It was better than caffeine. I often use the rare silence of my runs/walks to work things over in my mind. I replay conversations, plan blogs, or strategize about homeschool. This week I found that a little aggravation is better than a lot of caffeine, at least as far as exercise goes. Psychology today reports on the phenomenon, saying that anger is “a forceful motivator of achievement.”
I think the exercise might also be good for my anger. I’m not a particularly angry person, but like everyone, I experience stress, irritability, and the occasional grudge. While exercising, my brain is flooded with feel good hormones, making me more generous towards my perceived enemies. The New York Times has reported on this positive effect of exercise on mood. Also, I push myself past previous limits, allowing me to visualize success in other arenas of my life. Often, at the end of a workout, I have come up with solutions to problems. Sometimes I realize that what was bothering me was not actually problematic at all, and can be ignored.
I’m not saying start fights so that you can get better exercise. However, I would say this:
When the customer service people disappoint, when the other driver cuts you off in traffic, when the package fails to get delivered on time….put on your running shoes. It’ll do wonders for your body, your mood, and your immediate surroundings. Nothing is worse than being angry about something else, and accidentally fighting with a loved one. I have been very guilty of this in the past. In the future, my advise to my husband: If I am angry, hand me my running shoes. Give me an hour to myself to work it out, and we’ll both be grateful.