An Attitude of Gratitude
“Acknowledging the good you already have in life is the foundation for all abundance.” -Eckhart Tolle
The rigorous and challenging process that elite athletes go through during training is very trying. For many of them, it’s something they have done from very early on in their lives, so much so that it’s become second nature to them.
Unfortunately, as many of these athletes train their physical bodies, they neglect another important aspect that also needs training; the mind. As athletes train for physical success, it is also essential to develop the mind and train it to have a winning mindset.
Among many success-geared attitudes, one essential one that is vital for success is having a gratitude mindset.
Gratitude means to be thankful, ready to show appreciation, and return a show of kindness. It is to give thanks, acknowledge good things in one’s life or acknowledge that people or someone has influenced you for good.
Gratitude is taking stock of what you have, how far you have come, the people who helped you on your journey and being appreciative of where you are now. In athletics, practicing gratitude is not something you can do without.
No matter the type of sports you are involved in, whether you play it solo or you play as a team; you have a community that supports you and cheers you on. You have a coach that guides your career and supports your work. You have fans and family, even if it’s an online community that is rooting for you.
These are people that you can show gratitude to. Of course, you also have your health to be grateful for; having the strength to train and subject your body to hours of exercise is worth being grateful for.
Gratitude has been found to have a great deal of effect on your mental strength and resilience. There is also research evidence that shows that practicing gratitude impacts the physical life of those that practice it.
If you’re wondering why gratitude is necessary for athletes, here are a few reasons (scientifically shown) that should convince you:
- Positivity through gratitude increases cross-talk between different lobes of the brain. It broadens and improves your ideas and actions that help you develop new skills.
- Gratitude increases positive emotions that enhance your abilities and can-do attitude.
- Practicing gratitude helps you build higher optimism and helps you feel content.
- In relation to team performances, practicing gratitude helps to foster better team cohesion and life satisfaction among athletes.
- It reduces negative emotions like feeling like a failure or physical weakness.
- Gratitude puts you in charge of your emotions.
- Practicing gratitude will help you be resilient and focused on your journey.
- Gratitude also increases activity in the part of the brain (the cerebellum) that controls coordination and muscle memory
Practicing gratitude can be learned if you don’t already do it. As an athlete, taking out time to practice gratitude on your own, or as a team, with your coach, can help you create a better bond that is necessary for your own personal development—everyone has one minute to spare to think about what they are grateful for. You can also learn to practice gratitude with a therapist who will help you dig deep and do some soul searching to kickstart your gratitude journey.