REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL. 10 KEYS TO HAPPIER LIVING (PT 1).
Maintaining mental health is important for us all. And when searching for charities to support, Action For Happiness jumped out at us, their proactive approach really fits with our ethos. We firmly believe cycling is a force for good, to actively maintain and improve mental wellbeing.
And that really became clear after we sat down with Action For Happiness CEO, and keen cyclist, Mark Williamson. He talked us through the charity’s Ten Keys to Happier Living – and here is Pearson’s take on how cycling can help us achieve these.
Here are the first five – and they are all achievable while sticking to the social distancing rules.
Not every ride ends as it started. As we well know, in the UK what begins as a beautiful sunny day can suddenly turn wet and wild. No waterproofs, no choice but to get your get head down and get home. Dealing with technical issues or a puncture is a good test – you will find a way (the lightweight Ins and Outs gilet may help you too). Cycling helps you tackle situations that are out of your control, and when you do, the feeling of achievement is amazing.
Modern life is so fast-paced things just seem to pass us by, sometimes there’s no time to think. However, when you’re out riding that changes almost immediately. You start to notice your surroundings, beautiful buildings, nature, people. Or just get lost in thought. Away from the chatter and the phones you can find mindfulness in concentration or exhilaration.
The pride you feel after tackling the next challenging hill. The contentment when relaxing after a long ride. The joy of looking out over rolling hills and feeling the wind in your face. The calmness of avoiding a row with an irritable driver. The spectacle of seeing yourself dressed head-to-toe in Lycra. Being on a bike can really help you look for what’s good in the world.
This really is key when setting off on a bike! But aside from successful navigation, cycling offers the chance to set goals, targets and challenges. They might be lofty dreams of completing a staged section of the Tour de France, or simply dusting off the old machine that’s not been used in years and lapping the block a few times a week. Whatever format it might take, direction ultimately gives us a course to pursue.
Any form of exercise is good for your mental health. Many experts believe it’s just as beneficial as taking medication, it helps to relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety. And although running and walking are great, cycling allows us to more instantaneously satisfy our desire to explore and discover. You can go that bit further, that much faster and benefit the mind, body and soul.
We will be back with Pt 2 - lookout for the next 5 Keys to cycling and Happier Living!
For more information visit: Action For Happiness - Keep Calm. Stay Wise. Be Kind.