The Surprising Way Olympic Swimmer Olivia Smoliga Practices Mindfulness

In her Thrive Questionnaire, the gold medal winner opens up about reaching her goals, dealing with stress, and finding stillness in listening to her heartbeat underwater.

Thrive Global: What gives you energy?

Olivia Smoliga: The desire to fulfill my goals.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

OS: Believing in yourself wholeheartedly.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

OS: I close my eyes.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 

OS: About four weeks ago at a meet. I just reset! All it does for me is teach me something new about myself and how I can improve. 

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

OS: “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” – Max Ehrmann 

TG: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?

OS: You’re right where you need to be!

TG: Do you have any role models for living a thriving life?

OS: My parents.

TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?

OS: When I’m not laughing as often.

TG: When you notice you’re getting too stressed, what do you do to course correct?

OS: I take a bath!

TG: What’s a surprising way you practice mindfulness?

OS: Putting my ears underwater so I can hear my heartbeat. 

TG: How do you reframe negative thinking?

OS: I use the Restoic app. It reinforces how I want to optimally talk to myself through practice, meditation, self awareness, so that I know not to fall to a negative or anxiety inducing thought. 

TG: What brings you optimism?

OS: Visualization: if I can think about it, I can be about it.

TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your focus and productivity. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

OS: I started believing in myself more. When I changed the way I was talking to myself, I could feel my mood and presence shifting positively. I was meditating with Restoic and developed a self awareness that allowed me to focus on what I knew I could achieve simply because I was telling myself I could. It took about 3-4 months of practice, but I am always using it, every day.

TG: What has helped stay resilient through the pandemic?

OS: Practicing gratitude.

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