It had been a year since I had touched some of the apps on my phone. I was doing my yearly cleanse and noticed my headspace app. I thought to myself, add it to the list of things I should be doing everyday and don’t. I was pleased to see that the format of the App had changed and there were quite a few options for those days when time seems to not be present in our hectic routines.
Having two young boys in sports I decided to research the benefits of meditation for their own athletic performance. Headspace for Sport was an amazing development for them. Lasting no longer than ten minutes a session, the boys are able to add it into their schedule before or after an athletic work-out.
After witnessing their improvements on concentration, managing pressure and a more positive performance mindset, I decided to give it a try for a month.
His voice began to speak and my mind already started to wander
I was impressed that my 9 year old and 11 year old boys were able to master the art of relaxing and focusing for ten straight minutes while a man with a British accent spoke to them about sports anxiety. I had anxiety the first thirty seconds, because I was worried I didnt turn off my flat iron. It took me a while to settle in and find a comfortable position, but I did feel more relaxed after my first ten minute session. I managed to make it an entire week, and noticed I was sleeping better, and was more focused when I was coaching a private swim lesson or rocking a masters swim practice. What I was doing actually seemed to be working for me.
Five Reasons to keep on with the Meditation
My month long experiment was a success. The kids and I were on a daily meditation routine, and we were all seeing the benefits. We sat down together one day and we each came up with five reasons to keep it going.
- It enhanced our focus - Collectively we were all able to say how meditating for ten minutes allowed us to focus on very small tasks. Whether it be on the tennis courts for our boys, or my technique in the pool, we all agreed that we did not feel as distracted.
- Helped control our anxiety - We all have feelings of anxiousness. Sometimes when our fear and worry doesn’t go away we begin to have a sense of impending doom, and in some cases, panic. Meditating for ten minutes per day allowed for me and the boys to control those feelings of anxiousness that would creep in. We were better able to cope with those feelings, figure out how they started and handle them to where they slowly went away.
- We all slept better - We live busy lives, but sometimes that sleep can be restless and wasted. A study published in the Journal of Sleep showed that athletes who do not get enough sleep can experience negative effects such as weight gain, inability to maintain focus, mood disturbances, increased anxiety or depression, and decreased motor control. All these negative effects can dramatically impact an athlete’s performance. By incorporating meditation into their workout routine, athletes can sleep better and fight insomnia.
- Boost of Confidence - At the end of the month I was psyched I could last ten minutes, without any distraction. Negative thoughts of self-doubt and judgement fuel poor performance by taking our awareness away from the present moment. Fewer negative thoughts leave us with a much quieter mind, allowing us to become more self-confident in our sport or in our everyday!
- Lastly, it Reduces Stress - This was a big one for me. I felt some days I couldn’t balance everything that needed to happen for my family. I would snap at the kids, give dirty looks to my husband and be snoring on the couch by niner. Not a happy day. Through our guided meditation, I was able to Increasing self-awareness, focus on the present, reduce negative emotions and increase my patient levels. The boys were able to rock all of these positives and apply them to their track and tennis practices.