It had been a year since I had touched some of the apps on my phone and I committed to the yearly app cleanse when I noticed the Headspace app. Add it to the list of things I should be doing every day and don’t – guided meditation for athletes.
A quick tap magnified by a little guilt for motivation and Andy Puddicombe had me hooked again. The app had evolved 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 guided meditation for athletes. Lo and behold, Headspace for Sport. An amazing development for two active athletes who benefit from a little ‘down time’. Lasting no longer than ten minutes a session, both now add it into their schedule before or after practice or before school.
After witnessing their improvements on concentration, managing pressure and a more positive performance mindset, I decided to give it a try for a month.
Andy’s soothing voice began and my mind immediately started to wander. My first thoughts were how impressed that my 9-year-old and 11-year-old boys were able to master the art of relaxing and focusing. While I worried if I left my flat iron on.
I managed to make it an entire week. I was sleeping better and more focused. Whether 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 Guided meditation for athletes
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.
An enhanced 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 anxiety
We all have feelings of anxiousness. Sometimes when our fear and worry don’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 guided meditation for athletes 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 judgment 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 increase self-awareness, focus on the present, reduce negative emotions and increase my patience levels. The boys were able to rock all of these positives and apply them to their track and tennis practices.