Run Your Feelings.

running-alonePeople do it all the time. You’ve probably done it. I’ve definitely done it. It’s called eating your feelings - and it’s a dangerous and misguided technique for self-soothing.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of eating to fill a void in your stomach, it’s eating to satisfy an emotional need - and often involves cravings for very specific foods like pizza, ice cream, potato chips, etc. Because emotional eating usually involves unhealthy comfort foods, subsequent feelings of guilt or remorse are common.

In a nutshell, you eat because you’re angry, sad, etc. And then, once the guilt kicks in, you end up feeling even worse. It’s a downward spiral that serves no one.

While working with a professional to process your feelings is probably the healthiest alternative, I’ve got another, more accessible solution. Run your feelings. Hear me out.

Few things clear your mind like a good run. For me, running becomes something of a moving meditation. It’s right foot, left foot, right foot… One step, two steps, three steps. Breathe in, breathe out. And instead of having your mind race around an upsetting idea or thought, running allows your to channel and release that energy in a physical way.

Running allows me to take what’s in my mind and leave it on the payment.

And, unlike emotional eating, emotional running does serve your body with movement, exercise and a good sweat. Moreover, no feelings of guilt; instead, only the release of dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters resulting in the euphoric runners high.

Do you ever run or exercise as a way to cope? Let me know in the comments below.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I ellipticise…but yeah… totally works for me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I definitely relate to this. Running for me was a way, like you said, “to leave it all on the pavement.” I choose runners high to make me feel better instead of the usual pills doctors now days like to prescribe. Besides, I’de rather be looking hot and feel problem free any day 😉

  3. I hear this said often, but it makes no sense to me and has never worked for me. My body/mind certainly doesn’t work that way. Physical exertion does nothing for emotional turmoil other than make me tired and even more sensitive to the situation because I then I’m depleted and have no resistance left to fight it, so it actually can make it worse. Also it isn’t safe to run on the city streets here at night. Or bike. Or anything else.

  4. I hear so many people talk about the “runner’s high” or “workout high” but it just doesn’t work that way for me. Not sure if I’m doing something wrong or it’s just biological but those exercise endorphins just never come my way… 🙁

    • Same here. I’ve heard all my life about the runner’s high (ran for years, and biked or years, never got it once) and how ‘exercise gives you energy’ - I’ve exercised for a good part of my life and all it’s ever done for me is exhaust me, drain me, and wear me out. I build muscle and so forth, just feel worn out all the time from working out.

    • I am in the same category…. I think endorphins are ‘made up’, just like women’s g-spots, or santa clause. I do however feel healthier/cleaner/knackered after exercise and its good to use up the flight or fight chemicals that our brain secretes when under stress. If my mind still feels active after my exhaustion then its the cue to ‘not be nice’ and to do something about it. Thanks Dave for the article and this substitution is something I’ll take on board for sure.

  5. A good afternoon run or weight training session is a great stress reliever for me at work. It allows me to clear my mind (like you were describing) and think about something totally different. My mind is sharper after a workout once I get back to my desk. I think there may be some truth to your suggestion.

  6. Davey I agree with what you are saying, using food as an emotional crutch is never a good idea.

    Although rather than running I like to take to the pool, the silence, and rush of water going past you is a fantastic way of thinking your way through the questions which life puts to you on a daily basis.

    Not to mention after a good swim or gym session, you are bound to sleep better than would have done otherwise.

  7. I have anger issues and i decided to take up running i heard it was a stress killer so one yr on iv lost 5 stone and im running through anger tears and sadness and happiness running has given me the strengh to leave my anger outside and sweat it out when im finished running im exghausted and to tired to feel anything it has helped me massively it has improved my life and i run anywhere from 5k to 10k 6 days a week the day off i have i use to sleep and restore myself

  8. I was recently diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and I found that going to the gym nearly every day is the only thing that helps. I always feel like a cloud has lifted after a nice workout.
    For me working out is helping both my physical and mental health.
    On another note, your tip about using the post-its is what motivated me to get to the gym in the first place so for that I thank you profusely 🙂

  9. Running is my prozac. Great release of negative energy

  10. I do this all the time! You said it best… “Running allows me to take what’s in my mind and leave it on the pavement.” I’ll take a runner’s high over stress and anxiety any day. And the rewards are awesome!

  11. completely agree. i do still sometimes eat (or drink) my feelings on occasion, but i’ve been getting much better about running them. the little act of building yourself up a little feels so much better (on so many levels) than the ones that tear down. i also have a mild mood disorder and I can tell a big difference when i’m staying consistent with my workouts then when not.

  12. When I get emotional, instead of eating my feelings I do yoga to calm myself down.

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