Shona's story - #Runandtalk
08 October 2016
Shona Campbell is an England Athletics Mental Health Ambassador and Run Leader at Up and Running in Kent. This article is one of a series that we are publishing as part of this week's #Runandtalk activities
Here’s how running has helped her with mental health problems and how she now helps others:
‘’14 years ago I took up running. If I’m honest, I found it hard initially, but I stuck with it and began to really enjoy myself. I just loved the challenge of running, making friends and encouraging others who were struggling as I had.
"This led me to train as a running coach, and I have now been coaching for the past nine years. Since adolescence I have suffered periodically from severe depression, but when I started to run regularly it made me feel better mentally than I ever had before. Even my friends and family could see the positive impact running was having on my mental well-being. I quickly began to realise that, when I felt low, running would help lift my mood. Sometimes I found it hard to force myself out of the door and often it felt as though I was running through treacle, but I always came back feeling better than when I went out.
"Running also taught me to accept my body, to be more confident and comfortable with myself and to focus on the physical effort without any intrusive negative thoughts. In addition to the positive impact running has had on my own mental well-being, I have also seen how running boosts other people’s confidence, self-esteem and mood during my years working as a coach. I wholeheartedly recommend running and outdoor exercise to anyone that is experiencing a mental health condition.’’