What is it that you do for your own mental health? We hung out with Ben Ansari–North Van local and part of the crew over at Arc’teryx, for the story of his mental health practice; running.
Why running, as YOUR mental health practice?
It was actually a few years ago [when I got into it]. I was going through a bit of a rough patch, and it was actually a friend of mine–a colleague, who said ‘sign up for a half marathon. You have to do it’. I said ‘there’s no way. I’m not a runner, and I couldn’t care less about a half marathon’. He said ‘you have to do SOMETHING. You have to set a goal and achieve it.’ So he ultimately forced me to sign up for it. And I hated him for it in the moment. But then I did it. I remember the training process was so terrible. I think I ran about four times before. But when I actually crossed the finish line, I remember it vividly–I remember the exact song that was playing at the time, and it was one of the most special moments to me. I now thank this guy every single time I see him. Because that was the best thing he’s ever done for me. It truly changed a lot of my life, or perception of it at the time.
Ever since then, running has been super special to me.
We were talking recently [Ben and I] about how I haven’t really been running a lot lately. I was running in the early summer, and then stopped later in the summer. Again, questioning a lot of things in life and what really wanted in certain aspects of it. When [Ben and I] talked about this, it made me think, ‘what is it that truly bring me happiness, or brings me worth?’ and that actually kind of rekindled my love for running. So I’m definitely going to go for a run after this! I’m definitely going to keep it up, because when I don’t do it, I really miss it.
What is it that running gives you, if you were to delve a little deeper?
I think a lot of times running sucks. It’s the worst. But when you come out of it you feel great about your physical health, and it’s an opportunity to clear your mind. Because you can’t really do anything while you’re running, except think. Again, I hated running before. I wanted nothing to do with that half marathon. It just seemed so long! But you feel a lot better about it when you’re actually running. You start to think about the positive things, and as soon as you cross the finish line you feel like you’ve achieved something that not a lot of people are willing to put the work in to achieve. It’s a scary thing to think about [running a race]. I would have never thought about it before. I think its a lot more afterwards; what you’ve achieved. But now I’ve actually fallen in love with it. When I’m actually running, I love it. Except in the rain. Never in the rain…