The Mindful Athlete

Did you know that you can improve your mindfulness skills anytime, anywhere—even while working out? In fact, incorporating mindfulness into your training can significantly improve your fitness and athletic performance. Staying in the right mindset is critical for athletes to overcome obstacles and challenging moments during a game, race, or even a particularly brutal training session. Yet while most athletes train their bodies for game day, very few actively train their minds. Here’s what mindfulness is, how you can improve your skills, and a specific mindfulness approach you can incorporate into your daily routine (and workouts)!

Being mindful and practicing mindfulness means improving three key skills—concentration, clarity, and coolness. Concentration is your ability to pay attention to whatever you want for however long you want. Clarity helps you to experience what’s going on in real-time to notice details of the experience, being aware. Coolness is your ability to try to be equally open to pleasant and unpleasant experiences without trying to suppress unpleasant experiences or clinging to pleasant ones.

You can improve your mindfulness skills by using them in a consistent and systematic way. First, you need to plan ahead in order to figure out when and how often you want to practice these skills. The next thing you need is an understanding of how to practice. Basically, you need a few mindfulness techniques at your disposal that you’re familiar with and enjoy practicing in different situations.

One of the most effective forms of practice to incorporate mindfulness into almost any activity is using something called microhits. A microhit is a period of practice during which you dedicate most of your attention to doing a mindfulness exercise, but only for a short period. Microhits can help you to implement mindfulness into your current life and activities. You don’t have to set aside extra time in the mornings or evenings to practice mindfulness—microhits can be incorporated into your daily life as it currently is.

Being more mindful helps athletes perform at their optimal level more frequently and for longer periods of time. It helps them to better deal with difficulties like pain, fatigue, negative thoughts, or challenging emotions either before or during activities (or both)! When you incorporate mindfulness into your daily training, you are practicing the exact skills you need to overcome those situations.

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