🧘♀️🧘♂️🏋️♀️🏋️♂️ How Mindful Meditation can change Athletic Performance 🧠💪Apr 23, 2023
As an athlete, we know that performing at our best requires physical training and conditioning. BUT have you considered the role that your mental and emotional state plays in your success? 🤔
That's where mindfulness and meditation come in.
🧘♀️🧘♂️ I started meditating my first season I played pro volleyball. I was playing in Sweden and dealing with a ton of anxiety, and negative beliefs at that time. I remember that my first 2 games for my team were TERRIBLE. I was nervous that my dream of playing pro was going to be cut short because of my crippling anxiety. I was bombarded with negative thoughts of not feeling like I was good enough to be there, and spiraled into thinking that I was going to be sent home because I was playing so bad. I knew I had to do something to turn things around for myself. I started researching ways to calm my anxiety and improve my performance and decided that I would try short guided meditation and see if that would help me at all.
Turns out it did. BIG time.
I started with 5 minute guided meditations before practices and games and increased my meditation time to 15 minutes before practices and games, once I got the hang of it. Having a meditation practice can help you develop a stronger mental game, manage stress and anxiety, help with your decision making in critical moments, and ultimately optimize your overall athletic performance. 🏋️♀️🏋️♂️
In this blog, I’ll explore the ways that mindfulness and meditation can benefit athletes and I’ll provide practical tips on how to incorporate these practices into your training regimen. 🧠💪
First, we'll dive into the science behind mindfulness and meditation and how they impact the brain and body. Then, we'll dive into the specific benefits for athletes, such as improved focus, enhanced recovery, and decreased injury risk. 💡🤕
Finally, I’ll provide actionable tips and techniques for incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine, both for competition and in daily life. 🙌🏼
So, whether you're a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, let's explore how mindfulness and meditation can help you reach your full potential! 🏆💪 my only regret with meditation and mindfulness is that I wish I would have started as a high school athlete!
As an athlete, it's easy to get caught up in the physical aspect of our sport - training hard, pushing your body to the limit, and striving for peak physical performance. I hear you. I used to just focus on the physical aspect of my game too. But what about our mental game? Our mindset and emotional state can have a huge impact on our ability to perform at our best.
This is where mindfulness and meditation come in. These practices have been used for centuries to promote inner peace, focus, and clarity of mind. By implementing mindfulness and meditation into your training routine, you can train your mind to be just as strong and resilient as your body. Who doesn’t want that?!
So HOW exactly do mindfulness and meditation improve athletic performance?
Improves focus and concentration: Mindfulness and meditation teach you how to stay present and focused in the moment, rather than getting distracted by outside factors (comparing yourself to others/teammates ) or internal chatter (negative self-talk, beating yourself up for mistakes) This can help you stay focused on your micro goals in the moment and ultimately perform at your best.
Reduces stress and anxiety: As fun as our sport can be, it can also be stressful and anxiety-inducing, especially when you're under pressure to perform. Mindfulness and meditation can help you manage your stress and anxiety levels, slow your breath and thoughts and allows you to stay calm and focused even in high-pressure situations.
Enhances mental toughness: Mindfulness and meditation can help you develop greater resilience and mental toughness, allowing you to bounce back from setbacks and challenges more easily. This can be especially helpful when you're facing tough competition or setbacks in your training. The ability to let go of mistakes and recover QUICKLY is key for great performance.
Promotes recovery and injury prevention: Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to have a positive impact on physical recovery and injury prevention. By reducing stress and learning to work with your thoughts rather than fighting or ignoring them) improves overall mental wellbeing, When we are mindful and in tune with our body and what it needs, we can focus on rest and recovery more so than if we are tuned out to the message that our body sends us. If injuries do happen (they’re a part of the game) having a meditation practice will help you manage your anxiety, racing thoughts and help you focus on what you CAN control (Your rehab, attitude and effort towards your recovery) 😉
So, how can you incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your training routine? Here are a few tips to get started:
Start small: You don't have to meditate for hours on end to see the benefits. Start with just 5 minutes a day before practices and games 👉🏽Get my FREE 5 MIN MEDITATION HERE👈🏽
and gradually build up your practice over time. So maybe that would look like increasing from one 5 minute meditation a day to two 5 minute meditations a day (or 1 longer 10 minute meditation)
You can also start small by making a list each night of what emotions popped up for you during the day and where in your body those emotions might be showing up for you. Give yourself permission to let those emotions go-Just for the night. This exercise helps us release negative emotions before sleep which can help with sleep and reduce anxiety, thus helping with performance 🧠
Find a quiet space: It can be tough to quiet your mind when you're surrounded by noise and distractions. Try to find a quiet space where you can meditate without interruptions. If you are not driving, car rides can be the perfect time to throw in your headphones and listen to a guided meditation)
Use guided meditations: If you're new to meditation, it can be helpful to use guided meditations to help you stay focused and on track. ☑️
Make it a habit: Consistency is key when it comes to mindfulness and meditation. Try to practice daily or at least a few times a week to see the most benefit. Set an alarm ⏰
You can also practice mindfulness by limiting your screen time during your day. Reducing screen time (even just by 30 min each day) helps us be more present in whatever activity we are participating in. Start small. Try turning your phone upside down or on DND while you eat your next meal. Notice how the food feels as you’re eating it. What are you smelling? What textures are there? Are you getting full? Mindfulness is just paying attention, without judgment to what is happening in our mind and environment. 🌿
Mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools for athletes looking to optimize their mental and athletic performance. By incorporating these practices into your training routine today, you can train your mind to be just as strong as your body at being resilient, capable of handling stress. Give this 5 min Meditation a try for 1 week and let me know what you notice!To continue on this journey go to FREE GUIDED MEDITATIONS on The Ready, Set... Mindful Podcast.