Wandering in Your Own Thoughts
The only time I have encountered “runner’s high” was two days before I ran my first half marathon last January in Florida. I was in the San Francisco area for 3 weeks exploring all that was Silicon Valley. Two nights before I flew out to Florida to join a friend to run the Disney 13.1 miler, I decided I should “train” or at least get a sense of how well I was conditioned. [As a longtime athlete, I’ve ironically disliked running as an isolated activity.]
That planned few mile jog turned into a nighttime nine mile run. One loop turned into two, which transitioned into back tracking and then finally ended with me trying to find additional running space through out a quiet Mountain View neighboorhood.
That was the first and last time I’ve experienced runner’s high. It was a fascinating and sudden burst of energy and concentration while being in the flow. I distinctly remember calling my mom soon after, an experienced marathoner, asking what the hell I just felt. While I haven’t been going on many runs since, I’ve come across a similar type of feeling when it comes to thinking and inducing the flow.
Recently, I am starting to be able to regularly enter a flow of creativity, deliberate thought and mind wandering when I prepare for it. I know, it sounds very zen like…though I just call it “wandering in my own thoughts”. It usually consists of a physical activity (walking, biking) on a slow Sunday afternoon combined with instrumental music and noise canceling headphones. I can’t hear my footsteps hitting the pavement, nor can I hear the traffic and people passing me by. In a world of constant sensory overload, it’s fascinating to walk along in “quiet”.
It usually begins by reflecting on a recent notable event of the past week. This could be anything from a coffee meeting to a date or company development. For me, thoughtfully reflecting on the past is a great source for happiness, appreciation and learning.
From here on though, it’s unplanned what you may start to think about. Often, it transitions into takeaways about said event and the respective learnings or observations may turn itself into a blog post or fodder for conversation at the next brunch. It may be a time to think about an important article you read in the past week and what the personal or professional actionable next steps are. It also serves as a great time to clear your head and think about the few particular things you’d like to accomplish in the next week.
The development of thoughts is similar to the that of finding the next long avenues to run along. A sudden rush has them twisting and turning exploring new paths that most likely never appeared during the hectic week. Don’t stop walking until the rush has taken its course, just go with it.
I’d highly recommend giving something similar a try and if you already do, I would love to hear about it. Below are just a few items that have helped me.
- Soundtrack. Tycho via Hypem.
- Noise canceling headphones. Shure se215.
- iPhone on Airplane mode.