Meditation. It's all the rage right now. Elite athletes are doing it. Schools are teaching it. Maybe your very clever swim coach is having your team do some yoga and at the end, you are laying flat on your back trying to find a meditative state.
Why is meditation so big? Well, in a world where anxiety is on the rise , where many people feel stressed and overwhelmed and get less rest than they should, it offers solutions. Not only that, but heavily research backed solutions to those problems.
But meditation in a traditional sense isn't for everybody. I want to suggest a more inclusive model for sports coaches to use when they seek to help themselves and their athletes find peaceful, mental recovery in an otherwise stress ridden world.
Strengths of Transcendence
The VIA Strengths category of transcendence holds five strengths. Each one offers a window into how you can bring purposeful, mindful respite to your life. I myself am not a meditator, but I've used each to achieve the same benefits many people cite from meditation.
1. Appreciation of Arts and Beauty: Do you stop and smell the roses? Do you stop and LOOK at the roses? Maybe you should.
I'm not much for museums myself, but spending time admiring whatever you find beautiful is a wonderfully transcendent experience. When I lived in Denmark I used to stroll through downtown Copenhagen because the architecture itself knocked my stress down a few pegs
Likewise, when traveling for competition I scheduled time to see something cultural like Old Baku whenever possible.
2. Gratitude: I've already written a whole post on gratitude, so I'll add little here. But Gratitude is a great way to get out of a vicious circle of thinking about all your problems and share a good moment with someone you appreciate.
3. Hope: Like gratitude, Hope is a great strength to tap into in relation to other people. Sometimes it can be very hard to find hope in our own lives, but we can see it clearly for others. Also, writing out reasoning for why you may allow yourself to hope for some ambitious goal is a great step to having that hope and following up on it.
4. Humor: You know what helps me more than any amount of sitting cross legged with my eyes closed? Laughing.
The colleague I miss more than any I have ever worked with is a man named Mark Toburen. Why? Because almost every time I spent extended time with him, he succeeded in making me laugh so hard that I cried. I knew that Mark too, got a huge release from making me laugh.
5. Spirituality, Sense of Purpose: This is the strength that people most often associate with meditation. There is so much more here.
People who pray get a similar benefit to meditation. Religious faith in general can have extremely positive effects in the way that you manage stress and anxiety.
Non-religious people like me need only use our rational brains to figure out why faith is so impactful. So much of stress and anxiety comes from worrying about things that are beyond our control or we can't explain. Imagine believing that there is an omniscient being out there controlling the uncontrollable and explaining the unexplainable. Sounds pretty comforting to me.
I hope by now you see that there are far more ways up the mountain when it comes to transcending our daily lives than just meditation. Finding what works for you can change the way you manage daily stresses so it doesn't overwhelm.
Want to learn more about how to use your character strengths? Contact me.