If you’ve been watching the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, you’ve probably spent many hours in awe of the athletes’ physical grace and strength. Even curling, which is the go-to sport to make fun of for people who don’t know anything about sports, requires more coordination in a few minutes than the average office worker uses in a year. But what about the mental strength of Olympic athletes?
(Photo Credit: Caravanum/Flickr)
We often forget that sports require goal-setting and a superhuman ability to tune out distractions — in other words, a good head game. In fact, as a recent Huffington Post article points out, sports are 90 percent mental. Athletes can improve their performance with mind hacks, including:
At this point, either you meditate already or you’re tired of hearing about how it will improve your focus, decrease anxiety, and boost your physical and emotional health. Still, it’s worth mentioning that athletes like snowboarder Jamie Anderson use meditation to stay calm during competition.
“Last night, I was so nervous,” Anderson tells the Washington Post. “I couldn’t even eat. I was trying to calm down. Put on some meditation music, burn some sage. Got the candles going. Just trying to do a little bit of yoga … It was all about good vibration. Thankfully, I slept really good. I did some mantras. It worked out for me.”
How do gymnasts stick the landing and weight lifters hoist more than their own body weight? Visualization. Seeing the desired outcome in your mind before you embark on an activity can help you achieve your goals, even if they don’t include a gold medal.
3. Goal Setting
Olympians and productivity experts suggest you dream big, make your goals specific and actionable, and keep your dreams present in daily life by posting them somewhere visible — the fridge, your bulletin board, or even on your phone.
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