Mindfulness is a word used in connection with the pursuit of happiness and stress reduction. But what does it mean in real terms? For me it just means living fully in the present, so that I can enjoy every moment without thinking about the past, or what may happen in the future – and it works. I mentioned in my last article “Don’t Let the Past Hold You Back” http://www.tempuspersonaltraining.co.uk/dont-let-past-hold-back/ that we can’t change the past, and we certainly can’t live there; but we also can’t know the future with any certainty, so it makes sense to be in the here and now.
I apply my version of mindfulness to my training because, by focusing entirely on what I’m doing physically, I’m able to recalibrate my mind. To this end, I don’t run with music so that I can focus entirely on how I’m feeling and responding during every session.
But, whilst I find entertainment distracting when I’m training, I can completely understand that it may bring you focus and motivation – everyone is different, and you should do what works for you. My only bit of advice would be to always try to be present enough to maintain your form which avoids injury, and to enjoy the feeling of your accomplishment.
It’s also easier to stay focused and mindful if you have a clearly defined purpose for each of your sessions. Your purpose for exercising could be as simple as to complete a certain amount of time, or to work on a particular area of your fitness.
It’s easier to be mindful if you remember why you’re exercising and why you’ve made it a priority in your life. For example, the very powerful sense of achievement when you reach your goal. But other, perhaps smaller, reasons also have a big impact, such as seeing exercise as ‘me time’, helping you to reduce stress, or to sleep better.
So try to be mindful and purposeful in your workout; feel what you’re doing; remember why you’re there, know what you’re trying to achieve, and maintain the quality and form of your movements to really maximise the time you have devoted to it. Also always end your session on a positive note by praising yourself for what you’ve achieved – if it’s not everything you’d set out to do there’s always next time, right?