Mind full vs. mindful

Plus two exercises on how to improve the latter

Have you ever been so deep in thought that you did not hear someone calling your name? At times like these, our minds are full of thoughts and we are not aware of what is going on around us.

When our minds are full of thoughts and distractions we don’t get the benefits of focused attention and a clear mind, both which are essential for athletes and performance.

The power of mindfulness

Mindfulness means being aware of what is happening now, without getting lost in all of those thoughts. Mindfulness helps us become more aware of what is going on both outside and inside of ourselves, without being distracted by our thoughts. With mindfulness, we give the task at hand full attention, and can be fully aware.

Mindfulness gives us the power to perform at our full potential.

Two exercises you can do right now to improve mindfulness

Whilst regular meditation practice is the best way to improve mindfulness here are 2 additional exercises to help you as an athlete or coach:

1. Attention practice

Choose a daily activity that you normally do on autopilot to do with your full attention. So: showering, having lunch, cycling, etc. During that action, focus on your senses. When eating: feel the muscle power needed to bring the bite to your mouth, feel the cold metal of the fork. How does the salmon taste? What is the structure? Hold this attention for about five minutes.

2. Distraction practice

On the thumb of your writing hand , write ‘focus’. This way you are kept on track every time you grab your phone to swipe mindlessly.

This may not seem sport-related but by training our attention to stay in the present moment, we can keep our minds from running off into the past and the future and worrying about all of those things during practice and especially in competition.

The Sportmi Team

Join Sportmi on Social