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Mindfulness in Athletics: How Important is it?
What is the Mindfulness Approach?
Mindfulness, a term originally derived from the Buddhism culture, is largely focused on maintaining a strict concentration on one’s own present situation, while ignoring any superfluous details which may potentially hamper an individual’s cognitive process. By directing their attention to the present moment, be it positive or negative, an individual can effectively boost their mental and physical wellbeing. Athletes in particular, are quite well-known for engaging themselves in different mindfulness activities for stimulating their performance. How efficient is this approach, and how can it possibly reinforce an athlete’s level of activity?
Mindfulness and Athletic Performance
By adopting an effective mindfulness approach, athletes gradually learn to stay clear of their negative thoughts, and eventually put their entire focus into overcoming the present ordeal rather than worrying about the outcome of the competition. In this respect, mindfulness has been strongly correlated with a substantial improvement in the executive functions of endurance athletes. This means that by committing themselves to mindfulness-based intervention such as meditation practices, athletes can positively reinforce their cognitive, learning and memory, planning, self-control, and self-organization skills.
Mindfulness and Stress Burnout
Scientific evidence has indicated that mindfulness-based activities can help alleviate an athlete’s pre-competition stress and anxiety by mitigating their cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. Mindfulness can also lessen the overall risk of anxiety-induced palpitations or panic attacks. These factors drastically improve an individual’s athletic performance, and also lower the chances of any sports-related burnout or mental exhaustion. A robust psychological skillset and mental toughness has also been correlated with the mindfulness approach among college-level athletes.
There are several beneficial approaches for a mindfulness lifestyle which include a plethora of yoga exercises, mindfulness breathing, anchoring techniques, visualization, etc. If you’re an athlete, and are currently planning to improve your endurance, always remember that mindfulness is one of the best ways to unlock your optimal performance.
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