Cycling & Thinking

A few time ago, I’ve slept really bad. I usually sleep like a baby, but this night it was different… I woke up in the middle of the night with nightmares and anxiety. In the morning I’ve felt still dizzy… The anxiety still was present and the lack restful sleep was aweful. A good cup of coffee helped at least to get up and (somehow) running.

I brought my son to school by bike. He really likes that… And it felt felt good. So good, that I decide to go for a quick ride. Sun was shining and the countryside was beautiful. The smell of fresh lawned grass was in the air. Sunlight, fresh air and physical activity was the best recipe for me in this moment.

After a few minutes I forgot my anxiety and the lack of sleep. I’ve had to stop to record a few thoughts. I took out my phone and recorded an audio note for myself in Evernote. Wow – how could I just have those great ideas and make the best of such a lazy morning?

Dense leafage
Dense leafage – Retiro Park Madrid

We should take wandering outdoor walks, so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.” Later on I’ve read this quote from Seneca (On Tranquility of Mind, 17.8) in Ryan Holiday’s and Stephen Hanselman’s book The Daily Stoic Journal.

Sunny Morning Retiro Park
A sunny morning commute in winter – Retiro Park Madrid

Even if I don’t know, if Seneca would have been an avid cyclist today, the benefits of taking a bike ride and some deep breathing are quite similar. Cycling is one of the most effective ways to to (re)connect with your deep thoughts and get a rush of oxygen. I am currently working on different techniques to improve my focus and concentration. I’ll share my thoughts in a different post.

 

I really love Stoicism… it is a great approach to stay focused and relaxed. As a Ninjutsu-practitioner I’ve found also many coincidences between stoicism and martial arts. Acceptance and tranquility of mind are key concepts in both disciplines. I’ve found many intersting ways to integrate these concepts in my daily routines. A morning commute by bike can be as inspiring as practicing katas – ritualized patterns of movements in martial arts. 

Ryan Holiday - The Daily Stoic Journal
My own copy of The Daily Stoic Journal

Journaling is also a great way to calm down your mind. Ryan Holidays’s and Stephen Hanselman’s book The Daily Stoic Journal is a great fit for commuters. It holds outstanding Stoic wisdom and  thoughts for each day. There is space for your own morning and evening relections, which makes this book a great choice for commuters.

Please leave your comment and let me know what you think!