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Today is World Mental Health Day. We all know how important running is to our mental health, and how important it is for us to be mentally healthy so we can run strong. Ever wondered what you can do, today as a runner, to help boost mental health, your own and that of other people? Here are a few ideas.

RELATED: Runners with depression: you’re in good company

  1. Go for a run. There is a ton of evidence for running as a mood-booster.
  2. Invite a friend to join you for a run. Studies show that running benefits mental health the most when we do it with other people.
  3. Join a running club, if you don’t already belong to one. (See item 2, above.)
  4. Make a cash donation to a mental health organization, such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) or jack.org.
  5. Consider your nutrition, and your alcohol intake. (These may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how easily these can go off-kilter, and habitual overindulgence can mess up your happy hormones.)
  6. Extend a random act of kindness (even if it’s just smiling at another runner instead of avoiding eye contact).
  7. Take steps to manage your stress (chronic stress is a major contributor to anxiety and depression).
  8. Get more sleep. Most of us don’t get nearly enough, and chronic sleep deprivation is a slippery slope leading to poor mental health, not to mention poor running performance. (For those of us who have morning deadlines, aka jobs, that means trying to go to bed at least half an hour earlier.)
  9. Reconnect with an old friend you’ve fallen out of touch with. You’ll both be happy you did.
  10. See item 1.

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