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

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,012 ratings  ·  123 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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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  1,012 ratings  ·  123 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
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: running, sports, 2020
You may like this book if you're a runner who wants to improve, just wants to exercise more consistently or wants to alleviate depression and anxiety. I've run for years and learned a few things. ...more
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
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
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Running is good for you. You should probably run slower. But maybe not if you don’t feel like it. Just run.

Research shows running may be comparable to antidepressants, or maybe not enough for some people. That’s pretty much it.
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
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audio version. I loved this. Lots of profiles of different runners' experiences with depression and anxiety and their paths to feeling OK. ...more
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
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
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
Becky Wade
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Running Is My Therapy is a thoughtful and important look at the strong link between running and mental health. I had hunches about ways that the two interact, but this book cemented their relationship and backed it up with both science and anecdotes. I found Douglas’ personal experiences especially insightful, not to mention honest and raw. I had a lot of “It’s not just me!” moments while reading Running Is My Therapy, and suspect that countless other runners will too.
Sara E
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! Very thought provoking to read. As a new runner of just over a year ago, in school for psychology and a mother of athletes this one was recommended at the perfect time! Highly Recommend!
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. ...more
Jan 27, 2022 rated it it was amazing
While I haven’t personally experienced depression and have had less serious bouts of anxiety, I was still able to connect with a lot of the content covered in this book. Would recommend to any runner that wants to learn about how and why running has so many physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
Liz Germany
Great information that could easily apply to different forms of aerobic exercise. In fact, most of the studies sited didn't even use running in the study. Long story short, find the aerobic activity you enjoy the most, do it for at least 30 minutes a day most days and reap the benefits of a healthier mind and body. ...more
Oct 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Of course, I find the title of this book to be super problematic, but I appreciated the compilation of research regarding the benefits of running on mental health. Running is certainly not therapy, though.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading about the benefits of running that I intuitively knew. However, I found the author to be condescending and dismissive about other forms of cardio and weight lifting.
Apr 11, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
decent enough reflection on his own relationship with running that was thoroughly relatable, a little less engaging towards the very end though.
Hayley Lyon
Feb 27, 2022 rated it really liked it
A meaningful read for me personally coming out of, mentally, a very dark year. I knocked it down a star because at times it could feel a little repetitive but this one will stay close to my heart for a long time.
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. ...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
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
Pati Haaz
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m finally done reading this book, it took me a while because I had other borrowed books that I needed to finish first, but also because the beginning is a little dense with technicalities.

It gets better when it starts relating the theory with real life stories, the way the author combines both makes it easier to follow and relate, I also liked his objectivity and assurance that running is not a cure all magic wand, and we should not rely solely in running to improve mental health.

And of cour
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
Zaid Zain
2021 #4

Running Is My Therapy, Scott Douglas

Who this book is for: People who ever experienced anxiety or depression, and all types of runners in general.

What I like about the book: The author's personal touch, sharing his experiences overcoming depression and bad habits, through running, not just as a coping mechanism, but as a form of therapy.

What I don't like about the book: Too anecdotal. Apart from the author sharing his personal experiences, he interviewed numerous runners who experienced si
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.
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.
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.
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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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