One athletes mindfulness is super important to any coach. Mindfulness can be found in many different ways as every individuals piece of mindfulness is different. The way they retrieve mindfulness can also remain in different from others. There is one thing in common that mindfulness has among all athletes. It’s the mind and thoughts being in the moment with comfort and ease no matter where you are. No worries of the past, no worries of the future. It is amazing how much mindfulness can bring calmness to the body and mind. With that ease, the muscles and cardiovascular system can easily go with the flow. There is no initial panic, there is no worry, you’re one with yourself, your bike, and where you are.
As a coach I really strive to remind my athletes of mindfulness. It’s something we continually have to work on. I myself always try to find new ways to create mindfulness as it can be really hard with the hustle and bustle of the current society surrounding us. Social media can create a lot of fires and excitement as it seems as if everyone is always doing something. But as a human, we must sit back and look within and find some quietness. The brain runs off on a lot of cortisol when there is a lot of stress and busyness surrounding us. Though cortisol is good at moments, consistence push of it coming from external stressors can cause much more anxiety and added stress to already a stressful situation equalling build up. I really make sure to know that all my athletes can feel that they can trust me and talk to me not just about training. It’s important to know what life schedules are and life stressors are that can hinder mindfulness and create a barrier to getting stronger. I never like to just conclude “just go do some lovely meditating and you will be fine.“ it’s something I refrain from doing because for a lot of individuals it’s hard to even just start meditating and to stop your mind from running from you. To create mindfulness you need to be able to settle down and block the consistent amounts of cortisol from life stressors that keep flowing into your hormonal system and causing your body extra stress as well as your mental stress and strain.
Throughout my school years learning psychology in the way our brains worked, I found that we need to find moments we are content and in a current state of mindfulness to practice mindfulness before we force ourselves into mindfulness when we are in a stressful situation. Trying to force yourself to meditate or visualize when you are already stressed defeats the purpose of trying to relieve the stress. One way you can achieve working on the skill, just like anything, is when you are relaxed calm and in a good state of mind to then realize be aware of your current surroundings, current breath, current body sensations and that feel of being in the now and in the current moment. You can then work on relieving stress of future worries and past reflection and focus on YOU… right now.
That isn’t just one way of achieving mindfulness. Mindfulness is a lot of self-confidence and belief in oneself. Another way you can continue to build your self-confidence is looking in the mirror and stating good affirmations about yourself like:
“I am strong “
“ I am a powerful human”
“ I can do whatever I set myself to no one can stop me”
“I am worthy”.
You can also write sticky notes and place them around your room with good affirmations. The more you tell yourself and believe in yourself, the more it will become true. This will create a central flow of well-being to create this mindfulness that will naturally come along. You’ll be one with yourself and proud regardless of anything.
Another method of mindfulness is visualization. Visualization is when you can picture yourself either winning a race, conquering the work out, or getting up a certain hill. It can prevail itself in many different ways but the main goal is to visualize yourself in success. Visualize yourself doing well and seeing the end and being happy. Visualize yourself being strong powerful and getting through anything even if it’s not the best day. If you visualize before a hard workout or a big race you’re a setting a positive aspect to the end result which will innate less energy used on negative thoughts and worry and more inner flow.
I’m not saying you have to do this every day as again it’s like training, you’ve got to gradually build into it, not force anything, and really be kind to yourself. It may seem funny at first to even look in the mirror and practice mindfulness or sit on it and just be at one with yourself, but with anything the more you practice when you’re in a good state of mind, the better it gets for you to achieve that level of mindfulness so when you are stressed you are able to better get into that zone and relieve the stress for that one moment.
Now you ask me, why would this be relevant to anything with working out or training as most the times you would think using mindfulness, visualization, self affirmations is only used in a race scenario. I beg to differ.
To be able to get stronger and get to those races or events one must train. We can try to get away with just spinning around and doing what we want but in all we really need to work hard beyond levels of comfort to reach our potential. That's why having a coach to guide you along is so crucial. A coach that also guides the physiological and psychological systems. It can be very difficult and some days are better than others. On bad days you can feel really down about yourself and that’s when the mindfulness can really engage and create the stance of you coming back stronger. Having this mindfulness will also help you through hard workouts that you don’t think you could make it through the time slot but you use your mindfulness to keep pushing to the end and focusing on each section as it comes. That in itself will make you much stronger. The visualization will help you visualize a strong work out ahead and you being a machine and getting through the work out to become stronger. Affirmations will help you with creating that confidence that you may so lack on days that you are struggling to get going on the work out. All three of these are super important factors regardless if it is a race or not. You may find yourself also that these help you throughout your life not just in training. There’s a human experience we all live in and the more we build together and you can work on yourself, the more flow and one you become. And in all, don’t feel afraid to express these emotions. We all experience them at different levels and the best feeling is the feeling that you are not alone on this journey. If you have a coach, don’t hesitate to tell them how you feel and make it a priority to write some notes down after your workouts, races, events, or anything really to visually put it to words and be able to process and keep note on how this process unfolds.
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