Would you like to be happier and more productive and less stressed in your athletics career? The author of 10% Happiness lays out a formula for doing just that by practicing mindfulness. What’s in it for you? By practicing mindfulness, scientific studies from Harvard show that there’s a reduction in the parts of the brain that deal with stress, so you’re less stressed, and an increase in the parts of the brain that are associated with happiness. With this, comes a increased new source of drive so you don’t have to rely on competition and stress to have drive for peak performance. Instead, a more peaceful, more creative drive takes its place, which ultimately improves your athletic performance.
What’s the formula?
Mindfulness is a set of psychological principles that, when practiced will produce these benefits. What are these principles? Number one, non-judgemental observation. When sitting in a state of meditation, one takes the stance of observing all thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations from a standpoint of non-judgment, but instead curiosity. This practice will develop your ability to not react to a stimuli, but instead choose how you really want to respond in the best way that serves you. An athlete, for instance, who may lose their temper or get really triggered over a ref call they disagree with can choose in the moment to not react like that, but instead respond in a way that best serves them. Usually, by putting their energy into the next play, rather than trying to control something they don’t have control over.
The second principle, that would be the observing of bodily sensations. By doing this, you’re developing the sensory part of your brain. The sensory part of the brain is the non analytical part of the brain. It basically gives you signals, tells you that you’re safe. With that, that changes your biochemistry, allows you to be more present in the moment and immerse yourself and stop trying to worry about things in the past or future that you can’t control.
To put this into practice, spend 10 minutes in the morning focus on your breathing and/or bodily sensations you notice from the contact of your body on whatever you are sitting on. As your mind wonders, which it naturally will, bring your attention back to your breath or body. Feel these sensations. You may spend the entire session just bring your attention back to your breath. And that is what develops your focus muscle and begins to make shifts in your brain. For the best results, spend at least 8 weeks with this practice 5-6 days a week.