What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness refers to focusing our attention to a particular thing, especially within the present moment.
“It means slowing down to really notice what we’re doing. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When we’re mindful, we’re taking our time. We’re focusing in a relaxed, easy way.” — KidsHealth, 2022
How sports impact mindfulness (and vice versa)
Sports help cleanse our bodies as much as our minds! That’s well know, with many many studies showing how regular physical activity can improve and maintain good mental health!!
But what about the other way around?! How does being mindful impact our sports performance?
Well, simply put, sports (or even just our regular Wednesday evening gym class) are all based on a set of rules and strategies, not to mention all of the fast-paced actions going on. So being focused, alert, and ready to take decisions quickly are necessary. Can’t really defend a goal or follow those Zumba steps while we’re deeply thinking about how to structure our chemistry assignment due tomorrow at 4 pm, right?!
How to be more mindful
No phone on sight — Not checking our phones as the first thing in the morning can help us start our day “on our own terms” and resist impulses that appear throughout the day, therefore, feeling more present and in control of ourselves.
Taking time to do ‘nothing’ — Referencing the famous Italian phrase and philosophy — “dolce far niente” (translated as “the sweetness of doing nothing”) — this concept does not refer in any way to laziness. Rather, it highlights the importance of giving our bodies and our minds time to “do nothing”, to simplify recharge and reconnect with our own present realities and needs.
Counting to 10 — When feeling overwhelmed, an simple trick as counting to 10 can help refocus our attention from the stressful situation, to a very simple task that can break the cycle of worrying and transform it into something more achievable, bringing our minds back “in the moment”.
Listening — Instead of talking or listening to the thoughts in our heads, paying attention to the sounds around us — whether loud, subtle, close or far — helps our brains become more alert and immersed in our environments.
Staying hydrated — Cliché but true. But how does it relate to mindfulness? Well, our bodies need hydration to function at optimal levels. If we’re dehydrated, we become drowsy, our focus declines, we becoming more irascible and impulsive — quite the opposite of what mindfulness is all about, right?!