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Running Is My Therapy: Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Fight Depression, Ditch Bad Habits, and Live Happier

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  290 ratings  ·  48 reviews
From a New York Times–bestselling author and lifelong runner, a groundbreaking guide to fighting depression and anxiety one run at a time

There’s no other book like this. Longtime running writer Scott Douglas marshals expert advice (especially his own, cultivated from more than 110,000 miles of personal experience), and a growing body of scientific research to show how run
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by The Experiment
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  290 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars

Nothing earth-shattering here, but overall an earnest, thoughtful reflection on what running can and cannot do to improve one’s mental health. At times I felt like the author’s case studies were too limited to his friends, but I liked his voice and the way he blended memoir with self-help research.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: running-books
I check out and skim a lot of running books that I never review here because I don't finish them. I expected that to be the case with this one, too, but I was so pleasantly surprised by this book that I not only kept it one day beyond the library due-date (horrors!) in order to finish it, I also plan to buy it, which is unusual for me even with the running books I do finish.

Depression is a fact in my family. I now believe I've suffered from it on and off, the worst instances being as a teen befo
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I'm thanked in the Acknowledgements, so I'm certainly biased. But I wanted to be involved with this project from the moment I heard about it because the topic is near and dear to my heart, and Douglas' final product does not disappoint.

With a fine melding of scientific data and personal anecdote, he offers the reader a rare glimpse into both mental illness and the often-overlooked ways we attempt to self-medicate through exercise, namely running. From chemical neurotransmitters
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book focused on, as the author succintly puts it, "integration of body and mind via running in managing depression and anxiety".

The first part of the book shares the author's personal experiences with their professional writing career, and how running has helped them with anxiety. It also delves into the mental health benefits of running (a minimum of twice a week is suggested), along with ample evidence and scientific data backing up their claims.

The second part of the book, and the meat of
Matt Graupman
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I believe there are certain behaviors and coping mechanisms that, when one suffers from mental health issues, one is innately drawn to. Obviously, there are people who self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. On the other (nerdier) end of the spectrum, I’ve noticed a definite correlation between mental illness and comics creators, whether that be anxiety or depression or whatnot. There’s something therapeutic in the process of sitting alone, drawing, working through mental anguish and then releasin ...more
Kelly Belvis
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Running is My Therapy confirmed everything I suspected about running and it's effect on depression, anxiety, stress management and general mood. Scott Douglas includes his personal experiences with depression and running as well as accounts from other runners (friends and strangers) who have used running to manage their depression or anxiety. The book also includes research results and suggestions from these results for the amount and duration of running needed to aid treatment of depression and ...more
Catherine (literaryprints)
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Some of the points felt repetitive after a while, but I personally find reading different people's accounts of how running has helped improve their mental health and overall quality of life really fascinating. Least of all because I connect pretty hard with that sentiment - as it's mirrored my own experience with running.

If you often find yourself spending not insignificant amounts of time reading up articles on Runner's World, eclectic health facts, and running memoir
Malin Friess
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
-Researchers at the University of Arizona have shown increased levels of Endocannabinoids (the proposed runner's high) in the brain in humans following a run. Endocannabinoids are substances that bind to the same receptors in the brain as THC, the substance responsible for the marijuana high.
- Researchers propose that a feedback loop that occurs with the tapping of the runners foot against the ground shows increased activity as seen on the MRI in the brain that does not occur with cycling or sw
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think a lot of what is in this book is great information, but it is very dry and boring. I also felt a lot was dragged out to make the chapters and book longer, which wasn't needed. A lot of the information is kinda like, "duh, I knew that" especially if you are a running already. This is more in reference to the social aspect and benefits of running. I did learn a lot of good information about how anxiety and depression can be helped with running.
Dasha M
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an immensely useful and hopeful book. I wish it was around years ago - though perhaps I wouldn't have been as responsive to it then. The research is compelling and reflects so much of my own personal experience with running. Best of all, it's not one of "those" self-help books which eschews medical forms of therapy (stop being depressed by smiling and being more positive!), rather, addresses strategies where running becomes a useful tool in conjunction with treatments like therapy and me ...more
Logan Yu
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
"Running Is My Therapy" feels like a long Runner's World article. It's very informative and the author shares some anecdotes from personal experience with depression and anecdotes from other runners. I wish the book delve more into the author's battle with depression and running.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up from the library, hoping it might interest my high school cross country running son. He wasn't interested at this time, but I chose to read it and enjoyed it quite a lot. I liked Scott Douglas' writing style (in my experience/opinion, journalists-do-not-always-authors-make, and I feel Douglas is an exception), and I also enjoyed reading both the research and the anecdotes. While I've never been any type of distance runner (though I've jogged a handful of 10Ks), Douglas insi ...more
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I would say 3 1/2 stars too. Yes running is good for you and can help a lot. Some good notions, habits and ideas. Interesting discussion on the effects of anti-depressants on runners. A similar look at consumption of alcohol for runners. Good general ideas about mixing up running. Sometimes solo, sometimes with groups. Different distances different settings especially natural settings are better for your mind.
Lilly  Minasyan
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good book overall.

"Experience and a growing body of research show that regular physical exercise is just as beneficial for your brain as it is for your heart, muscles, bones, and every other part of your body."

As a runner myself, I want to understand not only how running helps my body, but also my mental health. I have noticed personally that when I don't run for a long time, my mood is all over the place, I feel very meh, I don't want to do anything, I just want to lay and read, but whe
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
In 2003, my 42 year old cousin passed away from cancer. He was an avid runner, and each year took part in Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race. I decided to take up running after he passed so that I could keep running the race in his honor and memory. That decision led to an almost decade long love affair with running. Well, sometimes love, sometimes pure avarice, but I kept running. Through rain, winter weather, in Nikes, Vibrams, huaraches, and even bare feet. Then, somewhere around 2013 or so, I sto ...more
Jeff Koskinen
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title caught my eye, as I immediately felt that I “got” the concept. I hesitated to start it and questioned whether I could get much value or satisfaction from reading a book on a topic that I had already bought into and am already benefitting from. I am very glad that I read it.

What the author did was bring context and sound explanations to many of the good feelings and benefits that come through running. He goes into how the brain changes over time, the chemical reactions that occur during
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running, health, science
Good book with lots of studies to back up the claims. I wasn't convinced that running is a better overall exercise for mental health, but I do believe that enjoyable cardio, preferably in the outdoors, has great benefits. (Cross country skiing, for example, could fit in with many of the studies cited, though lap swimming in a pool probably not.)

I felt that the subtitle, "Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Fight Depression, Ditch Bad Habits, and Live Happier," was a little too popular-reading feeling. L
Chrystall Jenkins
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve used the phrase/hashtag “running is my therapy” without ever knowing it was a book and a phrase that carried people just like me through the challenges of anxiety and/or depression.
It’s not saying it’s a substitute for medication or actual therapy. More like it’s a great addition to those options or for those who are able it can work as a substitute. It’s different for each person. It may change based on stages in your life.
I needed this book at this exact time in my life and as corny as
Aug 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
I guess this wasn't really my type of running book.

The author came off as kind of snobbish. For someone writing a book about running he seemed like he didn't like people who asked him questions about running.

If you are a 5K runner, don't bother wish this book. The author seems to barely mention 5K distances. Although in the beginning he does say, "if you run, you are a runner." But that's where it stops. Consistent mentioning of 10K and up and up (to ultramarathon distances) and training for ra
Jan 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
I’m glad the chapters on running’s effect on depression and anxiety were early because I could not get much farther than that. The author comes off like a professional distance runner snob who pays lip service to “if you run at all, you’re a runner” while simultaneously only quoting people who feel like they haven’t run at all if they don’t run 10 miles every day. For people looking to overcome mental health issues with running, it makes you feel like you have to start devoting 3 hours a day to ...more
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of Running is My Therapy from Netgalley in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. A more comprehensive review can be found on my blog,

I often say that running is my therapy and I'm not alone. Nothing new here, but just validation of why running feels so good to so many of us who suffer from anxiety and depression. The book felt like a long Runner's World article, but that's ok.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: healthy
Running is my therapy. Well, exercise is my therapy - yoga, walking, daily workouts of some kind - but running makes me feel like a better version of myself. It clears my head, lets me go on autopilot and find a “flow” state far better than yoga. While I don’t suffer from any diagnosed mental illness, the tips and ways that running is more than fitness completely resonate with me. Nice to know that it’s not all in my head.
Agnes Morelos
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mental-health
Douglas' book sheds light on the impacts of running on mental health. As an avid runner and someone who struggles with mental health personally, it was insightful to learn about the science behind why I feel better after my runs or disappointed when I miss a run. It was a bit technical at times but is a resource I can refer to when I want to learn about the psychology attributed to running.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Another reviewer referred to this as akin to a very long Runners World article. I’ll second that, but not in a negative way. Very information and research dense, basically explaining why running works on both physical and psychological levels. Nice reinforcement for what I’ve already known experientially, and motivates me to experiment more with my running.
Megan Rosol
Author's anecdotal benefits of running, combined with a summary of the scientific research on the impact of running on depression and anxiety. An interesting, balanced read/listen. Listened to most of it while running.
Joelle Tiessen
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read for those interested in the relationship between exercise and mental health

Good read. Anecdotal and factual. Liked the stories and honesty. Easy reading. Insightful for those suffering and using exercise as therapy.
Joshua Nowack
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Starts strong and then kind of tapers

I really resonate with how running helps my mojo and get to Benoit just physically fit but mentally fit too. But to me this book kind of stopped yielding great information about half way through

It's okay.
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best of the best! One of a kind and absolutely well-written and well-researched. The best book on running and brain I came across so far and a must read for anyone who is interested in the subject of brain, mental well-being and physical exercise.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Livro interessante. O autor vai mostrando, por meio de estudos científicos e de sua própria vivência, os benefícios da corrida. É uma ótima leitura principalmente para aqueles que ainda não se iniciaram no esporte e precisam de um empurrão para ganharem consciência que correr faz bem à saúde.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Ehhh- worth a listen during a run!
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Scott Douglas is a contributing editor for Runner’s World. He has also been the editor of Running Times and Runner’s World’s news channel. Douglas has written or cowritten several other books, including the New York Times bestseller Meb for Mortals and perennial favorite Advanced Marathoning. He lives in South Portland, Maine.

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“the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” 0 likes
“having a present-only, judgment-free mind-set can lead to better performance.” 0 likes
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