Whether you're getting ready for an interview, a date, or a big presentation, nerves have the power to get the best of even the most ~chill~ people. Maybe you've tried breathing techniques to help you through your nerves, or the classic, "picturing everyone in their underwear" trick, but Mindy Kaling goes running when she's nervous, which sounds absolutely genius, if you ask me. And yes, it's also another reason why I'm low-key madly in love with Kaling not just as an actress, but as a human being.
In a recent interview with POPSUGAR, Kaling revealed that she enjoys running not so much for the physical benefits, but for the mental ones. She said she pounds the pavement "because I love the endorphins I get once I work out," aka that infamous "runner's high." The Mindy Project actress also shared that she always tries to get that rush of endorphins specifically "before something I'm nervous about." And if you've ever gone for a long, head-clearing run yourself, then you know exactly what Kaling's talking about.
But what exactly is happening in your body when you run that makes you feel like a weight has been lifted from your nervous, overwhelmed shoulders?
To put it simply, there's a lot going on in your body when you go out for a quick jog — don't worry, it's all good stuff. But in order to understand how running can ease a nervous mind, you first have to know what's happening in your body when those nerves strike. According to LIVESTRONG, a bit of adrenaline is released in your body when you get nervous, and even though adrenaline is a hormone your body produces in response to stress, it's actually pretty useful in helping you handle the difficult task at hand. However, if your nerves start to feel overwhelming, then you might get a little more than just that "butterflies in your stomach" feeling, and LIVESTRONG reports you could begin to experience lightheadedness, a racing heart, and/or sweaty palms that you just can't seem to shake. Though these symptoms usually pass for most people once they get more comfortable with the situation, others might feel totally consumed by their nerves, and may even begin to notice the adrenaline escalates to a more intense feeling of anxiety.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise is an amazing way to release tension in your body and mind, especially during times of stress or anxiety. In our girl Mindy's case, running is her go-to form of exercise for shaking off unmanageable nerves and clearing her head to make space for mental strength and balance.
While there's certainly nothing wrong with getting into running for the physical benefits, Kaling's perspective is all about using exercise as a way to manage stress.
For the Ocean's 8 actress, running isn't about how fast you can sprint or how many miles you can clock on your fitness app (but hey, if those are your goals, do you, girlfriend). It's about using this cathartic exercise to shake off bad vibes when they're weighing her down, and honestly, that's one of the best possible reasons to exercise in general.
If you want to take a pointer from Kaling and use running as your own way of combating stressful nerves, there are a few tips to keep in mind during your jogs. For starters, choosing a kickass playlist with songs that inspire you, motivate you, and help clear your head can get your nerves to slowly melt away as you put one foot in front of the other during your blissful, sweat-infused cardio workout.
Secondly, if your biggest goal in running is to shake off your nerves and clear your mind, consider ditching any fitness apps that are tracking your speed or distance, because for now, those numbers will only serve to distract you from what you really want to accomplish. Running doesn't have to be about speed or distance, friends! It's simply about getting those nerves out of your system, basking in the feel-good endorphins that come with the workout, and feeling accomplished AF that you're using such a healthy coping mechanism to manage your stress.
I don't know about you, but the next time I'm super nervous before a date or an interview, I'm totally pulling a Mindy and going for a jog. Now, if only she and I could go for a run together. A girl can dream, right?