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Benefits of Meditating and Mindfulness in Sport

How can meditation and mindfulness help you?

Do you struggle to focus on your training? Do you fail to perform in a comp as well as you do in training? 

Then meditation and mindfulness might be the right thing for you.

Meditation can be defined as a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.

Mindfulness simply means being aware of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment on a moment-to-moment basis. It means paying attention to what is, rather than getting lost in our thoughts about the future or the past.

In a world dominated by schedules, time frames, work, social media, etc. it isn’t easy to be in a mentally clear state and to live in the here and now. In addition to all these external stressors, athletes often get caught up in memories of previous failures and experience stress and anxiety about future competitions, which prevents them from focusing on the present.

Mindfulness won’t take all external stressors away nor will it stop those negative thoughts and worries. However, mindfulness will help to experience those thoughts without judgment and help to stay in the present without getting distracted by things not relevant or things that have a negative influence on performance. Mindfulness also often uses breathing techniques that might have a calming effect in a stressful situation such as in a competition when it’s 3-2-1-go-time.

@teambutchers with an event win on event 5 and @rxperformance.no still holding on to the first place! 😱🤩 ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ What a start to the third and final day for TheProgrm teams competing at the European Regionals today. One event to go 💥🤞🏻 ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🤳 @crossfitgames ・・・ Team Butchers Lab 🇩🇰 was on the outside looking in, sitting in seventh overall at the start of Sunday morning in Berlin. However, the team went full send in Event 5, taking the event win (Cap+15) and climbing from seventh to fourth with one event remaining for teams at the #EuropeRegional. Will it be able to hold on? #CrossFitRegionals – 📷 @doooker • #CrossFitGames

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Meditation and mindfulness might also help to improve the confidence simply by allowing the athlete to stay calm and positive but also by enabling them to focus and concentrate on the given task.

PUTTING THEORY INTO PRACTICE

However the expectation to keep the mind focused on only one thing isn’t realistic if we never practice this in our daily lives. Athletes train their body day in day out, often twice a day but then struggle to make time to train their mind. Mindfulness needs practice too. Most will be surprised how difficult it is to stay in the present, to focus on breathing and not drift away and get caught up with thoughts about other things. You won’t have to practice mindfulness an hour a day but consistency is key. You will need to find or make time every to practice. 

It can be as little as 10 minutes to start with but those 10 minutes will make the difference.

You think you don’t have 10 minutes? You don’t know where to start? 

Get up 10 minutes earlier if necessary, download an app (“Headspace” is one I can recommend) and start to turn doubt into confidence, failure into success.

Article by Gwen Sona. Learn more at The Progrm