Helping athletes flourish using mindfulness and acceptance approaches: an introduction and mini review

Birrer, Daniel; Röthlin, Philipp; Morgan, Gareth (2021). Helping athletes flourish using mindfulness and acceptance approaches: an introduction and mini review Sport & Exercise Medicine Switzerland, 69(2), pp. 29-34. Sport & Exercise Medicine Switzerland (SEMS) 10.34045/SEMS/2021/18

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Mindfulness and acceptance are core concepts of the third wave of cognitive and behavioral psychotherapies. Their aim is not to overpower thoughts and emotions by suppression and using control techniques but to change the relationships with them. This article focuses on mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches in sports. It briefly outlines these approaches and concludes that they are characterized by promoting three processes, which are present-moment attention, metacognitive awareness, and acceptance. Subsequently, the paper describes one approach particularly suitable for sports in detail – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – with a special focus on how athletes can promote psychological flexibility and thrive in their effort to perform. This paper further addresses the question of whether mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches are effective in sports by summarizing research from the past five years in the form of a mini-review. Findings from 19 reviewed studies, including 15 controlled or randomized controlled studies, suggest that different athlete populations can benefit from mindfulness- and acceptance-based approaches in terms of athletic performance and well-being. Positive effects on performance and well-being could be mediated by other psychological processes, e.g., enhanced emotion regulation. Further research is needed, especially regarding the mechanisms that impact mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions in sports.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen SFISM > EHSM - Leistungssport > Sportpsychologie


Birrer, Daniel;
Röthlin, Philipp0000-0003-2268-571X and
Morgan, Gareth




Sport & Exercise Medicine Switzerland (SEMS)




Service Account

Date Deposited:

23 May 2022 14:44

Last Modified:

22 Jun 2022 10:56

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

Die Erlaubnis, diese Datei im ARBOR-Repository zu veröffentlichen, wurde eingeholt

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Mindfulness Acceptance Psychological flexibility Emotion regulation Performance enhancement Psychological functioning




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