MINDSET, MINDFULNESS + MEDITATION

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I am a strong believer in the power of the mind. Your mind controls the body. Be kind to it. Allow yourself down time and spoil yourself every now and then. Our environment and the people around us also shape who we are. Surround yourself with people who challenge you to be better, whether it is in sport or another aspect of life.

Mindfulness is something we are hearing of everywhere these days. It provides valuable tools to assist you to stay focused and in the present moment. Throughout my sporting life, I have used mindfulness techniques which is a key component to ensure you have the right mindset to perform at your best. Avoid having the mindset ‘I’m going to win’, as this is already setting yourself up for failure. This mindset is focused only on the outcome, not the process that influences the outcome. If you don’t get the process right, chances are the outcome won’t be either. For me, the key elements are visualisation, internal locus of control, (controlling the ‘self’), and internal dialogue (positive self talk).

Leading up to a race, I visualise the race environment and myself out competing. I focus on the technical aspects of the course and how I need to efficiently execute what is done in training, on race day. Pre race and during the race, internal locus of control is critical. This is where ‘I’ believe I can influence my own race and the outcome, not others (external locus of control is when you rely, or blame outside forces/people/situations for the race and/or outcome). Apart from a crash or unfortunate events that are clearly out of your control, race your own race. This is where self talk is critical too. Keeping your internal dialogue positive and motivating can be really hard at times, but it will get you through the race and hopefully push you at times when you really need to perform.

Adequate sleep is vital for the mind and body to adapt and recover to back up training the next day. Sleep benefits everyone, not just athletes. Sleep often goes underestimated. Going to bed early is one thing, but to be able to fall asleep peacefully, without agitation and a racing mind, can often be harder than it sounds. Everyone has many important things going on in their lives, but if we can switch off and allow the body to get sufficient sleep, we can start fresh and ready to take on any challenge or key decisions that need to be made the next day. Worrying about things all night wont help, it just makes everything seem even harder the next day. People can find meditation hard. But it isn’t. There are some very user friendly guided meditation apps available. I recommend ‘The Mindfulness App’ or ‘1Giantmind’.