by Savannah Peters, MS, ATC, LAT

Whether you’re older or younger, big or small, novice or seasoned yogi (yoga master) there’s a space for mindfulness to have a positive impact in your life. The benefits of being mindful are available to all who have the time to practice their skills. There’s no fancy equipment needed, no initiation fee, you can practice indoor or outdoor, independently or with a group. All that’s required is your mind, a couple minutes, and likely a bit of breathwork.

Prepared For Risk

As industrial athletes, a lack of awareness to your surroundings can contribute to critical hazards which increases the probability of an injury to you or others. The embodiment of our PREPARED principles, [R] Review Your Hazards and [E] Evaluate Your Equipment, can help us remain in the moment and focused on the tasks at hand. It is important to assess the scene for safety as not only a part of your morning routine, but upon returning to your site after a break or any time you step away. In addition to potential hazards in the environment, it’s critical you assess and reassess the integrity of your equipment. Whether that’s a tower crane or a laser pointer, ensuring everything is working properly before performing your job will keep you and your teammates safe.

Connect Mind And Body

And how might we increase our ability to be more aware of our surroundings? A mindfulness practice helps to develop greater awareness and strengthen the connection between your mind and body. It may encourage you to take note of physical sensations, and assume the role of observer to your thoughts and experiences without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve short term pain intensity, and reduce average blood sugar levels. It keeps us mentally strong, too!

Mindfulness In Action

Try this mindful wakeup method to start your day with a purpose. This practice is best done first thing in the morning, before checking phones or email.

1. On waking, sit in your bed or a chair in a relaxed posture. Close your eyes and connect with the sensations of your seated body. Sit tall with spine straight, but not rigid.

2. Take three long, deep, nourishing breaths — breathing in through your nose and out through the mouth. Let your breath settle into its own rhythm, as you simply follow it in and out. Notice the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe.

3. Ask yourself: “What is my intention for today?” Use these prompts to help answer the question as you think about the people and activities you will face. Ask yourself:

How might I show up today to have the best impact?
What quality of mind do I want to strengthen and develop?
What do I need to take better care of myself?
During difficult moments, how might I be more compassionate to others and myself?
How might I feel more connected and fulfilled?

4. Set your intention for the day. For example, “Today, I will be kind to myself; be patient with others; give generously; stay grounded; persevere; have fun; eat well,” or anything else you feel is important.

5. Throughout the day, check in with yourself. Pause, take a breath, and revisit your intention. Notice how the quality of your communications, relationships, and mood shifts.

Savannah Peters, MS, ATC, LAT || Savannah is an Injury Prevention Specialist in Hillsboro, OR. She grew up in California then pursued further education in New York where she studied and played volleyball at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. She holds a master’s degree from Stony Brook University. She enjoys playing volleyball, creating and exploring new foods, and hanging out with her cats, Potato and Luna.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!