SPA 045: Top 7 Mindful Strategies to Master

“In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature” – Bruce Lee

Right now, the term “mindfulness” is exploding!
Although it has been steadily getting very popular since 2005, it is still on the rise and it will carry on till next year at least. Best of all, it’s been used in many sports teams and proving to be working with extraordinary results. Besides Seattle Seahawks, the New York Knicks headed by Phil Jackson and NCAA football powerhouse Alabama Crimson Tide are also found to be employing mindful techniques.

You can check out how Phil Jackson did it with the Chicago Bulls and Lakers. There’s a video of him having a chat with Oprah Winfrey about it, you may go look up on it in the show notes page later. He spoke about what they did together when it comes to pumping iron and building mental strength at the same time. He made his team do meditation or take moments to sit in stillness and even play in the dark. And in his book called Eleven Rings: The soul of Success, he talks about how his team players come together in a mysterious alchemy to pursue their dreams. Again, go check them out in the show notes page.

Also, CTV News reported this January based on the researchers of University of British Columbia that mindfulness which has been introduced to students at Wilson High School in Portland last year are found to have performed better at math, they are getting better at regulating stress, more optimistic and helpful, plus better liked by their peers. These kids actually take Mindful Studies classes and meditate together during school hours. It’s great start for them and you can also set up your own mindful sessions with your teammates too.

Just this April ABC News reported that Mindfulness is ‘as good as medication’ for chronic depression.

So what exactly is mindfulness?
Let’s go through a couple of definitions floating around. I’ve gathered a few good ones so far and here are 2 definitions, one by Oxford English Dictionary, it says that mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. It can also mean a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

The other one I got is by Psychology Today, it termed mindfulness as “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

Ellen J. Langer said in her book Mindfulness, that “the mindlessness following of routine and other automatic behaviors lead to much error, pain and a predetermined course of life”. According to her, “if you are mindless, you develop mindsets of categories, associations, habits of thought born of repetition in childhood and throughout schooling. To be mindful, she notes, stressing process over outcome, allows free rein to intuition and creativity, and opens us to new information and perspectives”.

I’m not here to coerce you into being mindful in your daily practices, although I’m super tempted to demand you to do so, I need to be gentle, so let’s just say that I highly encourage you to move towards this direction starting from today.

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  • By enhancing current moment awareness, a critical component of peak sport performance (Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999; Ravizza, 2002), some research has suggested that mindfulness exercises can help to generate “flow”, or a state of complete focus on the task or event at hand. (Aherne, Moran, & Lonsdale, 2011; Kee & Wang, 2008). Gardner and Moore (2012)
  • Aherne, C., Moran, A. P., & Lonsdale, C. (2011). The effect of mindfulness training on athletes’ flow: An initial investigation. Sport Psychologist, 25(2), 177-189.

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Photo Credit:
Phil Jackson coaching LAL” by Bridget Samuels from College Park, MD – DSC02201Uploaded by JoeJohnson2. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.

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