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Meditation = Brain Training for Focus

Athletes are using meditation to get an edge for these six reasons.

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Work In author Erin Taylor shares why you should add meditation to your daily routine. 

You know your mind is powerful. Since the beginning of time people have sought ways to focus the mind and harness its power. And while historical contexts of mental focus might conjure images of monks chanting on mountainsides, today people are meditating on everything from their worries to their goals in order to gain clarity and get results, and athletes are using meditation to get an edge. Recent research has made the benefits of regular meditation undeniable, and people are bending traditional techniques to fit their modern lifestyles.

Meditate = To focus your mind on something

Now focus—meditate—on this: Applying the same mental focus to your recovery that you do to your workouts will not only improve the results of your recovery but also yield better results from your workouts.

If you’re serious about your goals you should care about meditation because it will help you work in.

It’s a restorative shifting of your perspective that signals to your internal systems that the props that help you meet and overcome challenges can let go so that you can transition back into a more relaxed state where effort can be fully absorbed. Meditation helps you to deliberately rest after a sweat session, allowing you to make the most of your recovery time.

In sport and life, meditation helps you:

Focus. Meditation sharpens mental focus and concentration. We spend a lot of time rehashing the past and projecting into the future. When you meditate, you bring your attention into the present moment—which is where optimal experiences exist and where recovery is optimized.

Manage physical pain. Meditation calms your nervous system and eases residual tension, which is incredibly helpful for managing physical pain.

Increase emotional stability. Meditation’s calming effects help manage anxiety and depression. It helps you to stay connected to your goals and to keep perspective even when confronted with life’s inevitable challenges and adversity.

Transcend Unproductive Habits. Everyone has deeply ingrained habits—the behaviors you default to subconsciously that sometimes act as coping mechanisms—based on your usual mode of operation. Meditation helps you become aware of these habits, especially the ones that are not serving you, so you can begin to determine more productive possibilities.

Strengthen your immune system. By calming your nervous system and shifting you into a more relaxed state, meditation gives your immune system a well-deserved break before you get run down.

Improve sleep. Meditating is an ideal transition to a restful night’s sleep because it creates space between your work and your rest.

RELATED: How To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Training

Get Started with Awareness Breath Meditation

Anchoring your mind to your innate, constant action of breathing is a great way to increase and maintain awareness of your breath so that you can use it to full advantage and sharpen your present moment focus.

Sit comfortably.
Take a deep breath in . . . a slow breath out.
Continue to deepen your breathing.
Inhaling, say in your head, “I am inhaling . . . ”
Exhaling, say, “I am exhaling.”
Inhale: “I am inhaling . . . ”
Exhale: “I am exhaling.”
Continue for several rounds before letting go of the words.
Continue to breathe deeply.

RELATED: Sports Psychology Advice For Triathletes

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