So another cycle of Olympics have come to pass. As ever the physical and mental conditioning of athletes is a sight to behold and witness. A timely study of 160 athletes published by the London School of Economics has indicated that athletes who learn how to become more self aware by training in mindfulness
may be better equipped to handle the anxiety and psychological rigors of competition, and have better life-satisfaction.
Even as an armchair spectator I was aware of the emotions stirred up by the anguish and elation of those competing. This seemed to me, on a personal level, to be heightened by ever present TV and social media coverage. The next medal opportunity was there to be watched at the push of a remote control button or a tap on an i-pad screen. A 6000 mile distance and 4 hour time difference seemed to shrink in the face of the media coverage.
My ‘post – Rio’ regime is simple; to spend time coming back to my personal reality. To be with myself; in this place and at this moment in time. For me the simplest way of doing this is to spend time sitting and observing my breath; having my breath as an anchor point so to speak. The breath is of course, always there, like a good friend. Whenever your mind wanders it’s a great point to which attention can be returned, in a kindly and accepting way. Jon Kabat-Zinn captures this perfectly in his book Wherever you are there you go,
use your breath as an anchor to tether your attention to the present moment. Your thinking mind will drift here and there, depending upon the currents and winds in the mind, until at some point, the anchor line grows taut and brings you back.
It is this moment when you realise that your attention has wondered that is key; noting where your mind has wondered to and without criticising or judging bringing it back to your breath, your chosen anchor point.
Good luck with finding your own means of coming back to your own reality ‘post- Rio’, whatever your anchor point in life might be.
Visit Martin’s new website Anchor Point Mindfulness to find out more about mindfulness courses Martin is running in Lancashire and Cumbria and the North west more generally.