What do you think the 2012 London Olympics will be remembered for? For me, it will be the talk by commentators, athletes, and coaches regarding the importance of gaining a ‘mental edge.’ Mental preparation can often make the difference between victory and heartbreaking disappointment.
Gaining a ‘mental edge’ includes a greater awareness of the mind-body connection, or how thoughts can impact our health and performance. This awareness might start with a prayerful or meditative practice of emphasizing hopeful, calm, confident thoughts while also avoiding fearful, anxious ones. For years, researchers have been attributing better health outcomes to this practice.
Many also believe it includes a spiritual dimension, something I found to be true when I was in high school. At 17, I had been taking a karate class and my instructor invited me to compete in a regional tournament. I remember being worried that I would lose quickly and be embarrassed by my performance. Competing in sports was new to me and my expectations were so low that I didn’t even tell my family about the event.
However, I had been learning about myself from a spiritual perspective and this helped me to alter my self-image into something more than an undersized, novice participant. As I began to acknowledge my spiritual nature, I felt my confidence increase, my worries lessen, and my expectations improve. I reasoned that this was an opportunity to demonstrate what I had learned about my spiritual nature and my relationship with the Divine.
I gained more confidence from the biblical story of David and Goliath and the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. I realized that being self-conscious was not helping me or representative of my spiritual self. I began to conclude that my worries were ridiculous, especially when I considered the challenges faced by my relatives who had served in actual combat!