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Sports Performance of Competitive Cyclists Improved by Mindfulness Training

12 Jan

Australian researchers from the University of New England in Armidale, Australia investigated whether mindfulness training is helpful to competitive cyclists with sport-specific anxiety, pessimism, and general experience of flow.

Cyclists were assigned to an eight-week mindfulness intervention, which incorporated a mindful spin-bike training component, or a wait-list control condition. Participants completed baseline and post-test measures of mindfulness, flow, sport-anxiety, and sport-related pessimism.

Analyses showed significant positive effects on mindful awareness, flow, and pessimism for the 27 cyclists in the mindfulness intervention condition, as compared with the 20 cyclists in the control condition. Changes in mindfulness were positively associated with changes in flow.

The investigators conclude that these results suggest that mindfulness-based interventions tailored to specific athletic pursuits can be effective in facilitating flow experiences.

Citation: Scott-Hamilton J, Schutte NS, Brown RF. Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention on Sports-Anxiety, Pessimism, and Flow in Competitive Cyclists. Applied Psychology, Health and Well Being. 2016 Mar;8 (1):pages 85-103.

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award