Firstly lets understand what mindfulness means...
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing our awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting our feelings, thoughts, and physical senses.
By being fully present in this way – not forcing things or hiding from them, but actually being with them, we create space to respond in new ways to situations and make wiser choices. We may not always feel like we have full control over our lives, but with mindfulness we can work with our minds and bodies, learning how to go through this life feeling more appreciation and less anxiety.
We have battles with our mind everyday; some are easy to overcome, many can leave us drained and feeling a little lost. If you’re an athlete your mind is the biggest opponent you’ll ever come up against, so it’s important you learn to master it.
Making mindfulness a regular part of daily life requires training and practice. If you’re motivated, a fresh perspective will begin to spread over every aspect of your life. When you begin practising mindfulness, you’re embarking on a journey that will take you down an exciting path of discovery, helping you unlock your true potential.
Mindfulness practices aren’t new – they have Buddhist origins and have been around for thousands of years. You don’t need to be religious or spiritual to learn to practise mindfulness and enjoy the benefits. For decades now, scientific research has been showing how useful these therapies are for reducing stress, anxiety and depression; helping people manage a wide range of physical conditions and for our general wellbeing. So mindfulness isn’t only useful if you’re feeling stressed or have a mental health problem – it can help any of us enjoy a better quality of life, whether you’re just wanting to smile more or have a new PB in your sights.
Now, learning to understand the mind and it’s games is one part and how to practice using it’s power in our everyday life takes time and perseverance. Remember this is a journey, one step at a time we develop what works for us. It can be as simple as beginning your day with a simple acknowledgement of appreciation of everything you have in your life - to preparing for the biggest challenge of you competitive career, staring down the track in the final of 100m mens Olympics. If you don’t believe you can win and can’t FEEL it, you have already lost before the guns gone off. If you can visualise the race, embrace the powerful emotions of how it feels crossing the line and believe you can do it...how much better is that vibration! I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it.
Mindset is everything. Etch that statement into your brain and never forget how powerful you can be, once you master your thoughts. Mindset should be considered the vital key that can determine your competitive success or failure, so learn to master it
Not every situation you encounter in your competitive realm will have the happiest outcome. Trying to adopt to a positive mindset in every situation you face can be tough. We need to learn to train our mind like we learn to train our bodies to be able to perform at the highest level. Positive realism is about trying to make the best of a bad situation or challenge, whilst tempering that with realistic assessment and action based on your circumstances.
For example, in a fitness environment, this usually manifests itself in athletes not listening to the bad signs when their body is in pain. Instead they ignore these feelings because they see acknowledging them as form of negativity. They continue on exercising and then wonder why they end up hurting themselves. In these types of situations, by being realistic and knowing when to back off, you may lose today’s battle, but the end result is positive. There’s nothing positive about winning today at the cost of injuring yourself for the long term.
Where do you go from here..
How about stopping what you're doing right now, turn off your technology, find somewhere you won't be disturbed for a few minutes and get comfortable in a chair sitting upright in a relaxed position. Place your hands on your lap, palms up and take 5 deep long loud breaths in through your nose and out through the mouth. Brig your breathing back to a quiet calm state and begin counting up to 10 with each breath in 1, out 2, in 3, out 4... and so on. Focus only on counting each breath. It's ok to drift off into other thoughts, just keep bringing yourself back. Be present and ground yourself in that moment of peace.
Off you go. Let me know how you get on.
Oh - and don't forget to #respectyourtemple
Richie Norton x
For more info, and if you didn't catch the articles, check out Richie in the following links with New Balance and Mens Health