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The third pillar of mindfulness exercises involves learning how to recognize that emotions play a large part in determining how you feel and thus perform. In order to gain an understanding of this pillar, training and practice needs to be invested in pillar one (physical mindful practice of breathing and controlling breath) and pillar two (mental mindful training-becoming aware of thoughts and how to apply switch thoughts).
Emotional mindful training can be summarized by a simple question that you pose to yourself during training and competition: “Where am I on the emotional scale?”
Here is a list of the different emotional guide posts:
Having a mindful awareness to know where you are emotionally at a given moment can give you an opportunity to reach for a better feeling in the face of adversity.
For example, a golfer has a poor shot in the midst of a good round and she feels frustrated and irritated that she lost focus (yellow level). In that instant, she could take a deep breath, name the feelings she is having and begin to redirect her focus to hope and optimism (green level). She could say things in her mind like, “Okay, I lost focus for that shot. I feel mad at myself. I have to take a deep breath and begin to focus on my next task. I can have a great next shot and enjoy myself.”
The emotional aspect of mindfulness is a powerful tool for quickly redirecting the chemistry of the brain. Again, this takes practice to determine what works in different situations. The more daily practice that is invested in the first two pillars, the greater chance of success for this third pillar-Emotional Mindfulness.
Pillar 4: Spiritual Mindfulness and The Big Picture