“The Mindful Athlete” for Big Sky Symposium

“(Mindful) Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice…It's about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn't matter in that moment. There are so many things telling you that you can't do something, but you take those thoughts captive, take power over them and change them.” –Russell Okung, Offensive Tackel, Seattle Seahawks
“(Mindful) Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice…It’s about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn’t matter in that moment. There are so many things telling you that you can’t do something, but you take those thoughts captive, take power over them and change them.” –Russell Okung, Offensive Tackel, Seattle Seahawks

It’s been about three weeks post Ironman Texas and a lot of awesome things have been happening in my life personally and professionally. One that I am especially excited to share with you happened last week.

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting at the First Annual Big Sky Conference Student-Athlete Wellness Symposium at University of North Dakota on behalf of Sac State Student Health and Counseling Services. There was a well rounded group of us that went and presented. My presentation topic was focused on developing “The Mindful Athlete.” It is an area of expertise that I am very passionate about, not just for athletes, but everyone. During my talk I had the opportunity to speak to Big Sky Conference university presidents (including Sacramento State’s president Gonzalez), athletic department administrators, sports medicine providers, mental health providers, and associated staff on the importance of developing a more mindful student athlete. How amazing is that?!  I got excellent feedback and most importantly I got people thinking differently about mindfulness and meditation. After the presentation I had some spontaneously wonderful conversations about incorporating mindfulness in our daily lives and many people were surprised to hear that it is a simple practice. Trust me practicing mindfulness or meditation does not mean sitting in Lotus pose for hours on end. Nope just minutes a day for 8 weeks has proven benefits. The audience was also surprised to know that these organizations, people, and athletes regularly practice mindfulness and/or meditation

  • I got a chance to shake out my running legs on the beautiful UND campus!
    I got a chance to shake out my running legs on the beautiful UND campus!
  • Aetna
  • General Mills
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Huffington Post
  • Target
  • Google
  • OWN TV Network
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • LA Lakers
  • University of Michigan Basketball team
  • Tiger Woods (pro athlete)
  • Phil Jackson (coach)
  • Arthur Ashe (pro athlete)
  • LeBron James (pro athlete)
  • Michael Jordan (pro athlete)
  • Ricky Williams (pro athlete)
  • Misty May-Trainor & Kerri Walsh (pro athletes)
  • Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
  • Ford CEO Bill Ford
  • Arianna Huffington 
  • Diane Sawyer (news anchor)
  • RonArtest (pro athlete)
  • Dan Harris (news anchor)
  • Joe Namath(pro athlete)
  • Barry Zito (pro athlete)
  • Russell Simmons (hip-hop mogul)

*click links for authored books *Click here for conference agenda with links to presentations

If the above list did not make them curious on implementing mindfulness training programs then surely it’s benefits did. Clinical research has demonstrated that regular mindfulness practice a person will be…

  • Be less stressed, anxious, and/or depressed
  • Be able to cope better life challenges and stress
  • Will have improved self-esteem, enthusiasm for life, and improved relationships
  • Will have improved memory, faster reactions time, increased mental and physical stamina
  • Will be healthier and less prone to illness
  • Will be less prone to injury
  • Will have improved immune function and less chronic sickness

I’ll take some of those benefits, and I have! That’s why I have a regular practice and incorporate it into my life. Overall it was amazing day, and dare I say a dream come true. A dream of being able to connect with an audience that has the power to positively influence student-athletes to live an empowered, passionate, and more balanced life. I truly love empowering people, and athletes, and events like these remind me of why I love being a sport psychologist!

I was excited to share this with you all for a couple of reasons. One: I just love talking to people about the power of mindfulness training and doing it for a larger audience. It’s also not very common that sport psychologists are being invited to talk at this level to this type of audience about mindfulness and meditation. God works in powerful ways when you are being used for a greater purpose! Two: This was once a dream that I did not know would ever come true. BUT I kept doing the work, kept dreaming, kept developing myself and my skill set, kept pushing my comfort zone by doing talks (for free sometimes), and just kept on doing the right thing.

So beautiful people, keep doing the work, keep believing, keep mastering your craft, keep challenging yourself to go outside of your comfort zone (even if you are scared, God knows I have been many times), keeping on going despite the obstacles because I can say with 100% faith its not if it will happen, but when it will happen. It’s all a matter of time before God creates that opportunity at the right time for you to move.

Thanks for taking the time to read and shine on because you never know whom is benefiting from your beautiful light!

-Dr. G

photo 1
The conference program! This got me really excited!
photo 2
I love seeing my name in print. It makes the dream all the more real!
Last but definitely not least. "The Mindful Athlete" presented by Dr. G
Last but definitely not least. “The Mindful Athlete” presented by Dr. G

Published by

Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is sport and performance psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California and works with elite sport teams and athletes across the country. She is competitive athlete herself and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family and traveling.