Fitness professional, mindfulness + wellness expert, travel junkie, and lover of life.
Based in Boston.
Instagram: @catiemacken | catiemacken.com
Have you ever committed to a physical challenge that you’re mentally afraid of? After a busy summer of travel and work, I had to make a last-minute decision about participating in the New York City Marathon. As a fitness professional, former marathoner, and general health-a-holic, I knew I could physically handle the challenge, but my mental commitment was nonexistent. To set myself up for success, I used five daily mindfulness rituals. You can apply these techniques to any stressful situation or overwhelming life experience, or include them in your everyday life for more balance and bliss!
Let Go of Fear, and Set an Intention
Sometimes our beliefs about our capabilities hold us back from our full potential. When it came to running the marathon, all I had to do was make the decision. The hardest part of any achievement is the first step, the moment where you speak your dream into existence. Out of fear, we place unnecessary limitations and boundaries on our lives. Those boundaries hold us back from connecting to our own authenticity and power. Trust your ability, write down a goal or intention, and create manageable steps to ensure your success.
Our bodies, minds, and spirits crave balance. During training, I was hyper-focused on listening to my body and managing my energy levels. How often do you avoid or ignore signals from your body regarding stress? The more you practice mindfulness, the stronger your connection to your internal workings. The stronger this connection, the more equipped you are to notice imbalances and take steps to restore equanimity. I cannot say this enough: REST, REST, REST! Turn “Mindless” Moments into “Mindful” Experiences Take a quick minute to scan your day. Where are you mindlessly moving through time on autopilot? Waiting in line at the coffee shop? Loading the dishwasher? Walking through the grocery store? Imagine if you took all of those "mindless" moments and turned them into a direct experience with reality. How would that change the course of not just your day, but your life?
Practice Full Presence With Each Challenge
After I set my intention to run the marathon, I let go of the final outcome. I gave my complete attention to each day, run, and step. This deep connection and presence within my body and mind helped me exert my best effort. We have unlimited potential, but we often mistakenly focus on the past and future to maximize potential in the present. Use this technique any time you feel overwhelmed: Focus on offering your best, and then release attachment to a specific outcome. Open yourself up to receive the abundance within and around you.
Ask for Support
I work in fitness full-time, so I needed an intelligent training plan to fit my active lifestyle. A local running coach helped me create an action plan that increased my potential for success and decreased my likelihood of injury. He checked in with me daily, pushing me when I needed an extra emotional high five and adjusting on days when I felt run down energetically. I also texted friends who inspire me and asked them to help hold me accountable. It’s okay to ask for help; vulnerability is a true measure of strength.