How Hiking Became The Therapy I Never Knew I Needed
I've never been to therapy, I've thought about it a couple times when I just wanted some guidance because I didn't know what to do in life but I've never actually gone. I've always had other outlets – sports, alcohol, writing, deep conversations with friends – those outlets have always been there to help me through the challenging and difficult times.
I always had those outlets, they were my solid foundation but I recently moved and lost all that sense of security.
Uprooting my life and leaving was a personal decision. I didn't know what I was getting into but I knew I needed a change from where I was. That change, of course, came with tremendous struggles.
I struggled and I felt like I had lost touch with all of my outlets to get me through. I finished playing competitive sports, if I drank it was alone and often out of being sad, I couldn't gather my thoughts to finish anything I started writing and I didn't have any friends to spend time with being in a new city.
I felt like I lost everything and that made me question everything.
I had to find a new outlet, a new way to overcome these barriers I was facing in my life, especially a way to do it alone with all my friends and family across the country.
It was then that I found hiking and that's when I felt my life start to change.
I hated the first hike I did and I mean I HATED it. I wondered if there was a way anyone could enjoy the self-inflicting torture of climbing a mountain. I wanted to quit and I did; I was so thankful when it was over. I got in my car and drove home, wondering what I got myself into.
Then I went back and did it again, for some reason. I went to another mountain and another and another, and now I'm addicted to the climb. I'm addicted to the feeling hiking gives me.
When I'm hiking up a mountain nothing else matters. My mind doesn't wander, my breathing is deep and focused, and my eyes only care about what's right in front of me. Hiking allows me to be in the moment, to focus on what's happening in my life right then and there. I don't care about Instagram, or how many retweets I'm getting, or if the person I have a crush on is trying to text me. Hiking is the closest thing to any meditative state I've ever experienced – hiking brings me into my zen. The harder the climb, the better I feel.
Hiking has become my own personal form of therapy I didn't even know I needed. It brings me to a good place, a calming place that I now long for every day to be in. It helps me let go, to focus on the moment, allows me to put things into perspective and realize how little I am in this giant world.
Hiking grounds me and it's made me into a happier version of myself that I didn't even know existed. There's something healing about the mountains; I'm not sure what it is and I'm not sure I ever want to know but I'm happy to appreciate it for what it is. The time I spend there gives me a feeling I never knew I could experience.
Hiking heals me, it saved me when I was feeling lower than dirt, it's become my escape and I'm forever grateful I found my new release.