Getting started with Mindfulness
Looking for an edge over your competitors? There’s no need to purchase that gadget or fancy sports watch. Get back to basics instead.
Practicing mindfulness is all about getting your head in the game. From coaches, players, parents and spectators – anyone can practice mindfulness. And the best part? It’s completely free.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment. It’s being aware of your surroundings, your actions and your breathing.
Practicing mindfulness can include performing breathing exercises, meditation or even going for a walk. You can do it anywhere, there’s no need to purchase anything and anyone can do it.
Taking time to get your head in the game has plenty of benefits. Practicing mindfulness regularly can help you manage your emotions and how you react in the moment. It can also help to strengthen your brain, leading to faster reaction times, more body awareness and better overall sporting performance.
5 tips to get started
- Focus on your breathing.
The aim of mindfulness is to be in the moment, without getting caught up in thoughts about the past or the future. Mindful breathing can help to achieve this.
When we focus on the breath without trying to control it, this brings our attention into the present. This practice helps calm us down by taking our focus away from negative thinking and worrying.
- Go for a walk.
Leave your music at home and head off in to the great outdoors. If you can, walk through a park or quiet area. Try to be in the moment and appreciate your surroundings, but don’t be too hard on yourself if your mind does wander.
- Download an app.
With the popularity of mindfulness growing, more and more mindfulness apps are being made. These apps can be helpful if you’re a beginner. With notification capabilities, they can also act as a good reminder to make sure you get your mindfulness minutes in.
A good place to start is ‘Smiling Mind’. It’s free and has lots of short activities. Try to book in 5 to 10 minutes with yourself each day.
- Count your breaths.
Get comfortable and close your eyes. Practice calm and focused breathing (see step 1). Each breath in and out is one count. Count to ten and then start back at one.
Getting distracted or losing count is ok. The point of mindfulness is to notice when your mind starts to wander so you can bring it back to focus on the present.
- Find an alternative.
Colouring in, practicing Pilates, listening to calm music – there are plenty of alternatives to traditional mindfulness techniques.
Find an activity that calms you down and keeps you in the present moment. This should be screen-free, so no phones or TVs allowed! Try and incorporate this activity in to your weekly routine