The 8 Benefits of Mindfulness for Coaches and Athletes
PCA National Advisory Board Member Dacher Keltner is a Psychology Professor and the Director of the Greater Good Science Center (@GreaterGoodSC) at UC-Berkeley. Keltner is most famous in the sports world for his study on NBA teams, when he identified a link between positive, supportive ‘touching’ (such as high-fives) and success on the court. Keltner is also a published author, most recently publishing The Power Paradox.
According to Keltner, mindfulness is acknowledging, rather than reacting, to things that come through your mind. Essentially, mindfulness is just letting thoughts be thoughts rather than letting thoughts define who you are. This can help with nervousness or anxiety, as well as help people move on from mistakes.
The data shows that when people act mindfully (as Keltner describes above), there are the following benefits to using mindfulness as a tool:
- Improve brain function
- Improved immunity to sickness
- Heart functionality improves
- Anxiety goes down
- Likelihood of depression decreases
- More likely to be optimistic
- Perform better in school
- Handle difficult challenges more effectively