Reasons to be cheerful. 10 Keys to happier living (PT2)
Life seems to be opening up following the depths of the coronavirus crisis. It is great to have more freedom to cycle with friends again and to share the joys of the open roads. We first talked to Mark Williamson back in April and during our chat with the Action For Happiness CEO he couldn’t have been clearer about his views on how cycling can boost mental health. “It helps us be more mindful and appreciate the moment; it brings us exciting new challenges; it connects us together with friends; it brings a real sense of accomplishment and purpose.”
This is all about being comfortable with who you are. And let’s face it, to put on Lycra from head to toe and then go out in public, cyclists are partly there without even realising it. The whole thing can seem pretty intimidating, as you lose count of the times you may be overtaken on the way to work or glance at the 100km rides some of your friends are posting on Strava.
Don’t lose heart, as cyclists we know there is always someone out there who can go quicker or further. It breeds humility. Affirmation comes as your phone pings, not work emails, but a series of encouraging messages from friends offering Kudos for your last jaunt. Thumbs up all round!RELATING
Solo rides are great, but cycling is also all about community. The anticipation before meeting up for a long ride. The euphoria as you all get back together and sip that first cold beer (or coffee). Cycling is about connecting with others, a common interest that can bring together people from totally different backgrounds, professions, lives. As soon as we get in the saddle, we are all the same. Any cyclist will tell you they’ve had more deep and meaningful conversations with their comrades when out on a ride than anywhere else.TRYING OUT
The benefits of learning and experiencing new things are huge. Whether it’s joining a cycling club for the first time, scoping out a new route or putting aside your reluctance to join the 'gravel-ution' and going off road. Cycling offers everything.
Successfully tinkering with the set-up of your bike, mastering those new shoes and pedals without having a "cliptastrophy" – the opportunity for broadening your horizon is endless.GIVING
The generosity among the cycling fraternity is incredible. Whether you are helping someone else change an inner tube, or you’ve been helped yourself – it’s a truly heart-warming thing. It’s an unusual sport where you can get close to your heroes, a sport where the team works as a whole for each other. Plus it’s a sport that is steeped in giving to others. It could be raising money for worthwhile causes or offering your advice to the newbie or uninitiated.MEANING
This can be achieved in many ways by cycling, it’s all about being part of a wider relationship with the sport. It’s the sense of giving, the sense of achieving – it’s a collective endeavour. It is the knowledge that by choosing to cycle, not only are we looking after our own physical and mental health, but we are also looking after the environment.
If you are feeling inspired, now is the time to pull on your kit and contact someone who could do with a touch of kindness. Please share the benefits of cycling and happier living!
If you would like to show your support for the great work that Action For Happiness does, please donate here.