news Using running to escape everyday stress can lead to addiction to exercise instead of mental health

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Recreational running has many benefits for physical and mental health, but some people develop exercise addiction, a form of addiction to physical activity that can lead to health problems. Shockingly, signs of exercise dependence are common among recreational runners.Research published in the forefront of psychology We investigated whether the concept of escapism helps us understand the relationship between running, well-being, and exercise addiction.

“Escape from reality is a common human phenomenon, but little is known about its motivational bases, its impact on experience, and its psychological consequences,” said lead author of the paper, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. said Dr. Frode Stenseng of .

Running for exploration or avoidance?

“Escapism is often defined as ‘an activity, a form of entertainment, etc. that helps you avoid or forget something unpleasant or boring’.” In other words, many of our daily activities may be interpreted as escapism,” Stensen said.

Escapism can bring back perspective. It can also act as a distraction from issues that need to be addressed. The escapism of seeking and adapting to positive experiences is called self-expansion. On the other hand, maladaptive escapism that avoids negative experiences is called self-repression. Effectively run as a search or evasion.

“These two forms of escapism stem from two different mindsets: promoting positive moods or preventing negative moods,” says Stenseng.

Not only do escapist activities used for self-expansion have better effects, but they also have more long-term benefits. Self-restraint, by contrast, tends to suppress positive as well as negative emotions, leading to avoidance.

Self-inhibition associated with exercise dependence

The team recruited 227 recreational runners (half male, half female) and employed a variety of running methods. They were asked to complete questionnaires investigating three different aspects of escapism and exercise dependence: an escapism scale that measures preference for self-extension or self-inhibition, an exercise dependence scale, and participants’ behavior. satisfaction with a life scale designed to measure subjective well-being.

Scientists have found little overlap between runners who prefer self-expansion and those who prefer a self-inhibited mode of escapism. Self-expansion was positively correlated with happiness, whereas self-inhibition was negatively correlated with happiness. Both self-inhibition and self-extension were associated with exercise dependence, but self-inhibition was much more strongly associated. but both affected the relationship between health status and exercise dependence. Whether or not a person meets the criteria for exercise dependence, a preference for self-expansion is associated with a more positive sense of one’s own well-being.

Dependence on exercise undermines the potential health benefits of exercise, but perceived lower health may be both a cause and a consequence of exercise dependence.

Similarly, experiencing positive self-expansion may be a psychological motivator that promotes exercise dependence.

“More studies using longitudinal study designs are needed to further elucidate the motivational dynamics and outcomes in escapism,” Stenseng said. It enlightens people to understand their own motivations and may be used for therapeutic reasons in individuals striving for maladaptive involvement in activities.”

For more information:
Frode Stenseng et al., Do you run to ‘get lost’? Relationship between two types of escapism in recreational running and exercise dependence and subjective well-being, the forefront of psychology (2023). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1035196

Quote: Using Running to Escape from Everyday Stress May Lead to Exercise Dependence Instead of Mental Health (25 Jan 2023) Retrieved 01/25/2023 from stresses-mental-well-being.html

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