We are often encapsulated in thoughts about what we need to prepare, or do tomorrow. What we need to do at work or thinking about what we need to do now to achieve our 5 year goals. Rarely are we in a state of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is being in the present moment and paying attention to all our senses and our surrounding environment in the present moment.
How can we do this when we are constantly thinking about the things we need to do in the future or thinking about the past?
Sure, it is great to plan for the future, but it is good for the mind and soul to take time to recharge and live in the moment. Enjoy what is now.
I recently retweeted a twitter post with a comment about bouldering and managing the black dog…
Fellow mental health tweeter (@CSIJesseCardoza) replied with
“I love bouldering, forces you to stay in the moment, which in turn puts you in a state of mindfulness, has its own unique calming properties.
You can read the full thread here.
Bouldering is 1 sport that enables mindfulness. Want to know how? Read on!
– You Know Exactly Where You Are & How You Got There! –
When we are on autopilot and not in a state of mindfulness, we arrive somewhere or on a thought without even knowing how we got there!
Bouldering means you have to fully concentrate on your thoughts:
- How am I going to do that route?
- Are there other people doing the route that I can learn from?
- Am I going to fall?
- My hands feel so sore.
- My toes feel squished against the front of my climbing shoes.
- I need to tape my fingers.
- I have no strength left.
- My body feels pumped.
- It feels great that I completed that route.
- I am chatting with other people about bouldering and general life.
This means you are fully aware of where you are and how you got there. This is a critical part of being mindful.
– Racing Mind-
Another sign of not being mindful is being lost in different thoughts that are whizzing through your mind or that you might lie awake at night with these thoughts.
Bouldering instantly brings you into the moment because you are always thinking about the route on the wall or hand and foot placement: thus facilitating mindfulness.
If you are feeling generally stressed in life, there are other ways you can tame the monkey mind:
Stress Pandemic Part 1: Change the Little Things
Stress Pandemic Part 2: Change the Big Things
– Avoidance –
At times, you may find yourself staying in your own safety net because it it feels safer than a new experience where something could go wrong. If you find that you’re avoiding situations and experiences because you fear something can go wrong, then it could be that you are staying inside your own safety net.
When bouldering, you will make mistakes. You will not always conquer every route first time and you will fall. But you know what? So does everyone else in that boulder hall.
Bouldering halls are one of the most inspirational and determinded places that I have experienced. People don’t give up until they’ve done a route and if they can’t do a route that evening, then they will come back a few days later and try again.
This positively reassures you that you learn from making mistakes and people around you will help you to succeed. Then in general life, you start to make these adjustments and accept that you don’t need to avoid things through fear of something going wrong.
– Remembering –
Trying to remember the last thing you did or the last thing you ate can be a good way to test your mindfulness. If you can’t remember what you were doing and the way it felt, or the surroundings and emotions, then if could be that you weren’t completely in the moment.
By bouldering, you will continuously take in the moment. From the warm up to the warm down. You’ll pay attention to how your muscles feel, how the hand holds feel on your fingers and how your cramped toes feel against the foot holds.
When you go home that evening, you will most likely be able to remember the routes you did, who you spoke to, the sounds and smells (sweaty boulder shoes yum!).
– Fun –
Do you ever find yourself spacing out? If so, it could be because you are bored and you space out to entertain yourself.
Bouldering gives you the opportunity to try new techniques, there will always be new people, new routes, new smells and probably even new music on!
You’ll find that you are not spacing out during this time as you are totally in the moment and entertained.
– Phone Free Zone –
Our phones provide us with an escape or distration, which means we are not living in the moment. Phones and social media take us out of the moment and distracts our thoughts. Controlled amounts of phone time is ok, but mindless scrolling removes you from the present moment.
When bouldering, you have no chance to be on your phone or social media (unless you want a chalk dust phone). During bouldering, you’ll spend your time problem solving routes that are right there in front of you without the distraction of your phone.
This is mindfulness.
– Connected to People –
Do you ever feel that you’re alone, even when you’re surrounded by people?
When we are not mindful, we feel disconnected from others. When we are thinking about other things or playing on our phones, we tune out of the message that peoples body language and facial expressions can give us.
With bouldering, you have the opportunity to solve problems with different people. You learn their behaviour when they boulder along with their emotions and body language. For example when you’re spotting someone. When we’re truly present, we feel hyperconnected to others.
Have you ever tried bouldering?