You might want to try this because it has been proven to decrease the impact of stress, not necessarily to reduce stress, but to leave you better prepared to respond to stressful situations by having a better understanding of what is arising, moment by moment in the internal and external world.

Mindfulness is a relatively new psychological technique; it has only been explored as a realistic psychology intervention in the west over the last decade (compared to other techniques that have been around for the best part of 100 years).

A lot of people read ‘psychological’ and then immediately switch off. Maybe you are considering it now, but I implore you to read on as mindfulness isn’t about fixing anything…or saying that you have some sort of problem. It is simply a technique that has the potential to make you better, not just at sport, but at EVERYTHING!

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First, lets briefly go through what the theory is behind this and where it comes from…

The technique is taken from a style of meditation that is widely used in Buddhism, where you basically empty your mind of all competing thoughts and focus on one point. If you have ever tried it, you’ll know that it isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Most people’s minds are generally working overtime and there are lots of different thoughts happening at once, such as, well anything from ‘what am I going to eat for dinner’ to ‘I like that smell, its nice’. In Buddhism this is called the ‘monkey mind’, and the mission is to clear the ‘monkey mind’ and develop the ability to 100% focus on one thing, and one thing only.

Some people may be better than others, but, more importantly, this is a learned skill that anybody can do, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Here is an example of a mindful exercise routine that was prescribed to a world-record holding athlete. The great thing about this routine is that is doesn’t take much time to do, and anybody can do it.

Try this every day (or as many days as you can fit in to your schedule) for 6 weeks…

1. Find a quiet spot, or a spot that you are comfortable with (ideally this should be quiet and away from people, but any spot is better than none)

2. Sit in a comfortable position that you can hold for 5 minutes without it feeling uncomfortable.

3. Close your eyes and breathe.

4. Concentrate on your breath, and that’s all. If other thoughts pop into your mind, acknowledge them, and then go back to thinking about your breathing.

mindful2

Ideally you would spend more like 30 minutes doing this however, in real life, most people feel that they are unable to find that sort of time every day. In the real world, for most people, it would be possible to find 30 minutes per day to do this, however it is likely to be perceived as more of a commitment, which means that they have less chance of completing the program.

One thing that people notice when they first start this kind of practice is that it isn’t as easy as it sounds! But over time it does get easier and by the end of the program you should find it much easier to concentrate and appreciate, and then dismiss, the many thoughts that pop into your head from time to time.

The Bottom Line…

Most people find it hard to concentrate at times, whether it be concentrating on a specific task or simply being able to switch off, and most people would agree that an intervention that may help this would benefit their lives.

The above 6 week programme only takes 5 minutes per day to do and doesn’t need any special equipment, just you. It has the potential to make your life better in countless ways, and there is zero chance of it being detrimental to you in any way. So why not give it a try!

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