How to practice mindfulness as an athlete

It is said that in sports, 90 percent of a person’s performance is mental. Mindfulness can be your key to step up your game mentally. And unlike physical exercise, you just need a spare space and a couple of minutes each day to enhance your mindfulness muscle. So, how can an athlete practice mindfulness and incorporate it into their daily life? Let’s take a look.

The simplest yet highly effective way of practicing mindfulness is through focused breathing. First, get in a comfortable and distraction-free space. You can sit on a chair, you can sit cross-legged or in any way that’s most comfortable to you. Close your eyes and completely relax your body.

In this method, you breathe normally and keep your focus on your breath. When that focus breaks and you find yourself being distracted, you bring your attention back to your breath. Your focus will break multiple times, and you will be distracted a lot, and it is entirely normal, but every time that happens, you have to bring your attention back to your breath.

It’s that simple, but just like physical exercise, the more you do it, and the more you’re consistent at it, the more you’re training your mind to enhance focus and stay in the present moment.

Focused breathing is just the start. You can use any exercise as the medium of focus and start using it to hone your mindfulness skills. You can also try body scans where you comfortably sit or lie down and relax your whole body. Then you start with your toes and experience how they feel, how tense they are, and how you can let go of any tension in that area of your body with this awareness. After toes, you slowly start to move up. You go from ankles to shins, to knees, to thighs, and eventually your head. Practicing mindfulness in this way will not only increase your focus but also make you more attuned to the sensations of your body.

Whether it’s deadlift or swimming, once you grasp how mindfulness works, how you can control your concentration, and keep yourself focused on the task at hand, your athletic performance will relentlessly improve.

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