Mental wellbeing is always associated with the mind, but, for me, the nervous energy, the heightened anxiety, the sense of failure congregate not in the brain, but in my gut. It’s almost as if they are so locked in battle that they become indecipherable from one another. Inseparable in the pit of my stomach. It’s not a mental sensation, but a mangled-up, physical one that requires, among other things, a physical response. It’s for this reason that I unreservedly recommend Haruki Murakami’s memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
Unlike Murakami, I am not an ultramarathon runner, not even a marathon runner, and yet, for my mental wellbeing, the book is one of the most important I have read. To say that this is a book about running misses the point. It is a book about the lives we lead and the thoughts within them that can take over. Thoughts about our professions, our creativity, our futures, our pasts, our inevitable and unceasing stumble towards old age. About running, Murakami writes that no matter how mundane some actions might appear, keep at it long enough and it becomes contemplative, even meditative. The difference between going for a long run and his memoir? At no point will the meditative act of reading this book feel mundane.
As originally featured on Mr.Porter