Having just spent a wonderful weekend at the Noosa Sports Festival recently I feel inspired to write a few lines about the experience.
You see the weekend was all about physical effort and challenge. I went along entered into one of the two cycling events, feeling a little concerned about whether I was really up for it! Not that I was worried I wouldn’t finish, but I just didn’t feel I had the killer instinct that is so important to “do your best”. So my friend and I decided that we’d do it “for fun”. And fun we had.
Surprisingly, after comfortably riding our way over the 85k distance, stopping when we felt like it and having the odd conversation with people along the way, we still earned a respectable place in the finishers.
But what really struck me was that the focus on the physical effort and competition side of things was almost secondary to the mental satisfaction of the whole weekend. Once again, this idea of physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing merged together in my mind.
Whilst the effect of the (relatively small) amount of training we did for the race no doubt had a positive effect on cardiovascular fitness, the biggest buzz came from the mental and emotional benefits of the weekend. Enter our good friend Seligman with his definition of what makes a good life:
P ositive emotions. Yes we experienced plenty of those. Excitement, humour, awe at the scenery, elation and pride at the finish line.
E ngagement. No doubt about that. Focusing on covering the distance produced plenty of flow – the sense of absorption and absence of thought.
R elationships were strengthened with the people we went away with, the people we met up with and of course, the people we competed with.
M eaning. What was it all about? What value did I place on the event? Much more than I had anticipated. I had forgotten how joining in a community event like this creates such a strong sense of camaraderie and a statement about how physical fitness is such a wonderful thing to have. Being outdoors and experiencing scenes of nature that I might not have seen otherwise, was another bonus. Testing myself to the small degree I did reminded me of the satisfaction that comes from having something to strive for.
chievement – no doubt about that feeling. It didn’t matter how many people were in front of us, there were plenty behind. And yes, passing riders felt much better than begin passed. The sense of satisfaction at having completed the distance, but more than that, having met my goal of having fun and not feeling wrecked at the end, were all immensely satisfying.
Just another example of how physical and mental wellbeing can be and should be completely inseparable.