Fast Mindfulness Practice in Everyday Life
Getting quickly, consistently untangled from troubling thoughts and emotions becomes easier with practice. Athletes frequently use two types of mindfulness training to skillfully 'step back' from difficult internal experiences. Doing a longer mindfulness exercise (5+ minutes), like you'd learn from a mental skills coach, helps you get specific skill work done enabling you to better navigate a particularly difficult type of thought or emotion; similar to practicing a specific skill on your own, such as shooting or blocking. It's not practical to sit down for five minutes in the middle of a game, though.
Shorter mindfulness exercises (1-20 seconds) are like a quick refresher on skills you're building - reminders of what to do to 'let go' and refocus. Short exercise help you quickly disentangle from a difficult thought or feeling on-the-fly, so you're readier to refocus on the game. Here's an example:
Take a moment and listen to what's happening around you
You're not pursuing sounds, you're allowing what's there to come to you
Note the sounds as they come to you
When you're ready, return your attention to the blog post and read the next sentence
Hopefully, you feel a bit more focused! A quick exercise like that is easy to insert into practice, when you're frustrated, or into a game that's become nerve-wracking. Short mindfulness drills may focus on your breathing, sounds, a particular train of thought - something to capture your attention and pull it away from the tangle of an unpleasant headspace. Once your focus is drawn to a more pleasant or less disruptive place, you're freer to return your attention to your game at the present moment with greater acceptance and a cleared head.
Be thoughtful about where a fast mindfulness rep will fit into your practice and game play. It's okay to try a drill for two weeks, assess how it went, then stick to it or experiment with something new. For help training your mental game, reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and set up a time to chat. If you're not ready to chat and would like more quick tips, check out my blog.