Mindfulness and Athletes: Why?

Mindfulness and Athletes: Why?

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Young man running

Mindfulness in Sports: Spirit of Our Time

There is a significant shift occurring in the health and psychology fields with the focus on mindfulness. The founders of Mindful magazine describe the simple act of being present, or living mindfully, as being part of the zeitgeist, or the spirit of our times (mindful.org, April 2013).  The act of being mindful or being more present is a powerful concept that applies to athletes in many ways. In fact, most athletes are likely already engage in moments of mindfulness when they are training or competing.

Mindfulness and Athletes

Mindfulness is not a mystical concept or only available to people who meditate. Think about the times you may have experienced a sense of being in the “flow” or “zone” when you have trained or been in competition. Mindfulness is associated with flow or peak moments so sport psychology consultants are embracing both the concept and practice in their work with athletes. Mindfulness may involve mental toughness but in a much different way. Mindfulness means being able to be present in the moment and having a focus on the moment. This is really important for competing well since too much thinking about the past or future interferes with performing well.

Benefits of Mindfulness in Athletes

The good news is there is a growing body of research demonstrating the benefits of having a mindful practice. We know science demonstrates that being mindful can have positive health benefits and be a tool for pain management. Learning more about mindfulness and some of the principles can also help athletes with focus, attention shifting, and recovery from mistakes.

Gain Knowledge of the Basic Principles of Mindfulness

Athletes training and competing mindfully have an improved awareness of what they are doing when preforming well, they learn the benefits of using breath work and the idea of letting thoughts come and go. All these concepts are important for performing well.

The time is now. Mindfulness is part of sport, sport psychology, and mental strength. Begin to build your awareness of the concept and practice.

WHY might athletes want to learn mindfulness and mindful techniques?

  • Stress management

  • Overthinking

  • Recovery from mistakes

  • Focus-switching

  • Awareness of when to back off (trying too hard)

  • Awareness of when to turn the energy on

  • In some cases, simply having more compassion for oneself!

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