I’ve said it before, but one of my favorite quotes is “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” This view is particularly important if you want to access your flow state easily.
Some of the best ways to practice being in the flow correlate with the idea of being mindful throughout your day.
What does it mean to be mindful?
The easiest place to start is with mediation. It may not be easy to do, but unlike just hoping to be mindful throughout your day meditation is pure practice at paying attention. If you want to be more in the moment throughout the day then this is the only real place to start.
It’s not as complicated as you think! The goal is simply to recognize when your mind is wondering and bring its focus back to something concrete. Try focusing on your breath to begin. You can focus on where you feel the breath or you can count the time it takes to inhale and exhale.
A session does not have to be long. Some people can jump right into 20:00, but really that is a goal to work up to. You can start with as little as 5 or 10 minutes. (The only issue here is that the first 10:00 is always the hardest to quiet your mind. So if you can handle 20:00 alone 😱 go for it!!)
The goal is NOT to never have a thought, but to practice catching yourself thinking and returning to paying attention to your breathing. As long as you are able to do that at least once you won!
Applying to Your Day and Sport
Now practice the same concept throughout your day. When your mind wanders bring it back to the task at hand. See if you can catch yourself at various moments letting your mind race to thinking about the future or past. Stop yourself and pay attention to your breath and what is going on around you. This is what it means to be mindful and why meditation is good practice.
If you practice meditation and mindfulness throughout your day when you go to practice or play a game it will be much easier to focus on the next at bat or the next hole. If, instead, you constantly let your mind run wild during the day the same will likely occur when you should be “in the zone.”