Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT), a program developed by psychotherapist and author William Pullen, combines exercise, talk therapy and mindfulness. In his new book, Running With Mindfulness, William lays out a step-by-step process for you to work through low moods or magnify the highs.
“Often people talk about running as a creative pursuit or something that can give you answers, and it definitely does that for me,” William says. “It makes sense of things and puts things in their rightful place.”
Either solo or with a partner, DRT gets you moving and connected when you are feeling stuck. It is easy to try, anyone can do it and there is no wrong way to practice. If you do choose to run with a partner, make sure it is someone with whom you are comfortable sharing the details of your life. William suggests choosing a topic or question of concern such as working through anxiety or anger or managing the relationships in your life.
William’s first step, the grounding process, is a call to mindfulness that includes four stages: scans of body, environment and emotions as well as priming, which is what you want to get out of the session.
Move with intention.
William stresses that DRT is not an exercise routine, although the exercise is a bonus. DRT does not require you to be in great shape, but it is critical to start outside to connect with nature.
“Don’t worry about the weather, you run through that,” he says. “Don’t worry if you don’t finish a session, just get out there with a good intention and see what happens. Do the best you can and try to push yourself a little bit.”
Time for reflection.
Next, in William’s book or your own journal, write about your experience. Notice any progress and try to express how you feel about it. He describes progress during a run as “fantastic and profound moments” of clarity that will soon make you more comfortable with your feelings and help you to better understand yourself. The reward is gradual and part of the journey of discovery.
Chris Libby is the Section Editor for Live Happy magazine.