The Importance of Meditation


Take a deep breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Take another one, this time make sure that the breath out is longer than the one that you are taking in.  Take a few more breaths, only focusing on your breath and not a single thought that may cross your mind. How did that feel? Hopefully it was refreshing, hopefully it gave your mind a moment of calm. Hopefully, naturally all the rapid thoughts that were jetting through your mind had a moment to calm down.

Meditation gives your mind a moment of peace that sometimes we neglect and overlook the importance of. I first started meditation when I was a senior in high school in my sport psychology class, then they were long (about 20 minutes) and I couldn’t for the life of me focus the entire time. Over time however things began to click. It’s pretty ironic, to me that you have to train your brain to think the right way or rather the way that you want it to. For me, I find short meditations in the morning or throughout the day to be much more effective than a long 20 minute one.  Taking 5 to 10 minutes in the morning or at night have benefits that last most of the day and even throughout the night. I just wanted to share with you some of my favorite reasons to practice meditation.

  1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety– The obvious is that it gives you a mental and physical breath that allows for you not only pause and gather your thoughts but it also encourages to stop thinking about anything specific at all. Anxiety is often caused by distracting thoughts and meditation helps you control what thoughts that you focus on. Scientifically, meditation works to reduce stress hormones like cortisone and increase your happy hormones like serotonin.
  2. Promotes Better Sleep– Meditation helps you calm down all the distracting thoughts going through your mind, ultimately improving the quality of your sleep. Meditation before bed even allows you to fall asleep deeper and faster. Added bonus is that a meditation session in the middle of the day can give you the quick pick me up and energy boost you need to get through whatever else you may have planned.
  3. Increases Healing and Reduces Pain– To me this is the coolest part about meditation. Meditation and imagery have been proven to help speed up the healing process of injuries and even reduce pain. When you focus your mind completely on the healing process through meditation the body responds and begins to heal faster and returns to a healthy rate faster. Meditation also changes the overall structure of the brain which allows for you to longer feel pain at the same intensity.

There are an unbelievable amount of benefits to meditation and I really encourage you each to look into how it can strengthen your daily life and overall health and well-being. If you want more information on the benefits of meditation, check out the link below. Also coming soon will be some brief daily meditations that you can use throughout your day.


Additional information:

Compete with yourself

Are you afraid to compete with yourself?

Most athletes by nature are competitive, that is nothing new, but there is this small part of the battles we face every day that are over looked. We are constantly battling and competing with ourselves way more than we will ever compete with any other competition in our lives. There is this little voice in our heads constantly telling us the wrong things. It’s the voice that tells us to cut short of the line during drills, the voice that tells us when we are injured that we hurt too much to get up and get ice. It’s that pesky little voice in your ear telling you to put the alarm on snooze and go back to sleep, to order the extra plate of fries, to stay up all night watching Netflix, or to skip your workout.

When no one is watching you, that voice in your head is going to tell you don’t do it, you don’t need to do it, that’s not true. You have to reach down and remind yourself that you, if no one else is, are watching and do it. You have to compete with that voice in your head, you have to beat that voice. Do it no matter how tired, hurt, exhausted you may be. It’s not the games that matter most it’s the practices and recovery, that is where you become better, that is where you put in the work. If you can’t beat yourself in competition, how are you suppose beat anyone else?

You can’t be afraid to compete with yourself. You can’t be afraid to tell yourself no and push yourself harder than your brain is telling you that you can go. Keep score if you have to, maybe you hit snooze yesterday morning but you put up extra free throws at practice and ate a salad instead of pizza. Now you are up 2-1, how big can you get the lead to? It is the little steps every day that we take against ourselves that make us better players. Compete with yourself, and beat yourself.