Power of Mindfulness
We often want to distract ourselves during our workouts; but being mindful during an exercise session can help relieve stress, make you feel good, and even make your workouts better. The ideation behind this is to abandon all distractions and negative thoughts, by focusing your attention on your sensations, breath, and therefore, the movements of your body. The essential premise here is that once you give your full attention to your workout, you will be able to focus on the brighter side of life more effectively.
Too often we exercise only to lose weight, but that is not something that can keep us motivated through and through. Having a purpose offers you something to specialise in, for example, muscle building or core building; something you’ll feel good about. At the end of the day, your purpose keeps you motivated to keep striving towards your goal.
Calm your nerves
Remember, you have set this time aside specifically for your workout, so give yourself permission to truly sit back and relax, by pouring all your energy into your fitness regimen. Make sure to allow adequate time for each activity, each movement; particularly strength training exercises. Make sure to ace your form on the upward motion, which in turn makes for the perfect downward motion. Your mind controls your posture, your core, and therefore the remainder of your body, including the muscles you’re targeting. Make sure you pay attention to them as they contract and relax.
Each day is an obstacle that comes with its own set of challenges. But, in order to stay focused and true to your fitness journey you need to maintain a focal point. Let’s step back in time, go back to your school days, and remember your physical training classes, which always started with an honest 10 minutes of warm-up. Warming up your mind and body means mentally preparing yourself, by finding your own mantra for the day, setting your expectations, and establishing a plan of action. Taking even a couple of moments to ponder upon what you would like to accomplish can help immensely.
The mind-body connection doesn’t stop once your workout begins, of course. It’s important to continue monitoring your body, even when you’re feeling the burn. Paying close attention will assist you in distinguishing between discomfort and pain. Listening without judgment may aid in reinforcing positive thoughts. Allowing yourself to hear your body’s discomfort and pain reminds you that everything is temporary, even this. As they say, ‘no pain, no gain’. This process will assist you in finding renewed strength to push past mental and physical barriers, while also avoiding injuries.
While lifting weights, put your full attention on the muscle(s) you’re strengthening. Feel your muscles contract and relax with each repetition. Allow your breath to be slow and steady. As unrelated thoughts arise, allow them to exit your mind and return your attention to your muscles and your breathing. Once you ace the mind-muscle connect for each exercise, along with the muscles you’re working on, and what you’re actually accomplishing, you will start to get more out of every workout.
Breathing might just be one of the most natural actions that we do instinctively, but if done correctly, this process can become a lot more complex. Breathing correctly is important while exercising for many reasons. One of which is, that it helps with posture. The same muscles that help us with our posture are also the ones that help us respire. Therefore, good breath equates to a good posture. Focused breathing also helps realign your mind, as otherwise, it will start wandering during your workout, as you keep watching the clock. Instead, close your eyes and take a deep breath to bring yourself back to the instant. Add in vigorous exercise, or the adrenaline and fear of activity like fighting, and breathing effectively and efficiently becomes a downright formidable task.
As you begin your workout routine, it is essential that you disconnect yourself from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. This can be achieved by switching off your phone and directing your attention to the sound of your sneakers, the rhythm of your breath, and the movement of your arms. Pay attention to how you feel during and after your workout. Keeping a straight aim at your goals, all the while getting profoundly and blissfully lost in the movement, takes acute mental strength and colossal willpower. You can begin by thinking of your gym as your sanctuary, an area for you to wholeheartedly practice mindfulness, without distractions.
Research shows that those who express gratitude feel better, and are more optimistic than those that linger over negative emotions. Mindful meditation has been shown to be an efficient technique for managing anxiety and depression, as it teaches individuals to recognise harmful recurring thoughts and acknowledge destructive patterns.
Setting aside 30-minutes each day to unwind and meditate offers us a chance to dig deeper into our minds; and question our surroundings, our nature, our very existence. People who meditate are said to be happier, healthier, and more successful than those who don’t. Utilising this meditation technique has also shown efficacy for treating and helping us cope with the spread of various physical and medical conditions, including chronic pain, fatigue, and stress.