Why I meditate and how I apply it in jiu-jitsu competitions

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Lately it has been discussed a lot about in the media. Meditation and the benefits of it to the brain. I won't get into the details of it all as plenty of information can already be found on the internet.
Here is one nice article on the benefits.

So how do I define meditation? 
For me it's about emptying the mind. Quiet it down enough that you are just aware of your feelings, body and all sensations that arise. You can also call meditation some tasks that you do in what you call "flow state", that you are so immersed in your task that you forget about thinking.
These tasks can be gardening, washing dishes, walking, running, lifting weights, jiu-jitsu... Pretty much anything.

Simply put it. Just breathe.

How do I practice meditation?
I don't meditate every day. But I still get it's benefits, when I need them most. When I am really stressed, anxious or angry about certain things, it's at these moments when I gain the most from meditation.

I find a quiet and peaceful place where I can sit uninterrupted for X amount of time. I just sit there and breathe deeply and consciously. If a thought pops up, I observe it and let it go without judging it. Sometimes I get caught by my thoughts and find myself thinking some matters at hand. This is not a big deal, it can be useful to contemplate the thoughts that come by if it could help you solve some questions in your life. Then just let the thought go and move your focus back to your breathing. And that's it.
You can do this for 10-15 minutes. Sometimes when I am really stressed I go for 30-60 minutes.

Another way is doing tasks and focusing on them completely. While washing dishes, you can focus entirely on getting the dirt off and feeling the warm water on your hands. This same method can be applied to almost anything.

There are also times when I am just enjoying the present moment, I might be traveling somewhere or waiting for something. I take a deep breath and see what is going on around me, without labeling anything or thinking about anything. Just pure observation of my surroundings. This mostly brings me a sense of peace in the present.

How do I apply it to competition?
I still have not mastered this skill, but when I am able to apply it I perform better than I could have imagined. Now the application of how this might work for you is completely personal, as everyone is different. I am just sharing what I have found to work for me and hope that you find your way.

Usually during and after my warm up I take a moment to appreciate where I am. I sit around and see everyone doing their routine before fights, I see people fighting, cheering. Winning and losing. The vast range of emotions in a small arena. I breathe, sit, relax. Empty my mind. Just be.

I try to take this emptiness and relaxation with me into the mat. No fear, no expectation, just awareness.

The last time I was able to do this perfectly I outperformed my expectations. I did not have to think what to do. My body knew exactly what to do and reacted so fast to my opponents actions that I am  astounded even till this day.

What else have I gained through meditation?
The most considerable change in my life must be the release of stress and a sense of inner calmness. Before I might have gone bananas when something didn't go the way I planned. But these days I am able to stay calm through it and find a solution quickly. In a sense I always accept the situation I am in.

I also find myself being more happy more often for no particular reason. I'm just able to be grateful for the things that I have now and the situation I am in rather than being in that constant state of wanting something better.

Now I want to remind you that these are just my experiences. For you the meditation style and its benefits might be completely different. But with regular practice you will surely find your way and reap its benefits.

Happy mediations, and may your mind be clear.