Body Break Nurture The Mental Athlete In You
This July and August you’re going to get the chance to see athletes compete in the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in Toronto.
These games are held every four years (in the year preceding the Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games) for athletes from 41 countries and territories (from Canada to the tip of South America).
Whether it’s watching on television, reading news reports or having the awesome opportunity to see one or more of the venues, there’s no doubt you will be inspired by the athletes — their physical abilities, mental determination and drive to be the best they can be.
As former Canadian athletes (Hal, baseball; and Joanne, track), there is nothing like representing your country, your family and yourself. The training, the challenges and the accomplishments on and off the “field” provide skills and tools for life.
We believe that there’s an athlete in everyone. Physically it’s about challenging yourself in sports/activities, developing skills and keeping your heart, lungs and other muscles strong and aerobically fit.
Mentally it’s about creating an inner toughness or go-to inner voice that allows you to motivate yourself when things aren’t going your way or to push yourself to greater heights. Often you defeat yourself mentally before you even start. Your thoughts affect your actions and your actions affect your thoughts.
One mental tool athletes use is positive self-talk. It’s like an inner-cheerleader who helps them stay focused and gives them inspiration. The right word(s) repeated can help pull an athlete along as they swim extra laps, run longer distances or dig deeper for a finishing kick in a race. This word(s) is known as a mantra that is either said out loud or internally.
It can quiet the voices that often tell you you’re not good enough. A mantra isn’t just for athletes, it can help you build your concentration and confidence at any age for whatever you choose to do — from improving your golf swing to rehabbing an injury; from over-coming self-doubt due to a health condition to turning anger into calm.
“You can do it, keep it going, you’re okay,” are some of my go-to mantras for running” says Joanne. “Slow and Go is my most used golf swing mantra,” says Hal. These mantras just give meaning to what we need to focus on or how we should feel.
As the excitement of the Games this summer builds, start creating your “goto” mantras to help you have that inner cheerleader. Choose positive, inspiring and affirming words. These types of words have power. They add positive energy into your life. Use them often and add new ones because attitude is everything.
Until Next Time, Keep Fit and Have Fun — Hal & Joanne • www.bodybreak.com