A connection to the hard-hitting NFL is bringing Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson serenity now.
Seeking to keep his mind more at ease as he enters his fourth season, the 6-foot-4 guard has been practicing meditation from lessons provided by former high-school classmate Hailey Lott, the daughter of former NFL Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott.
"They really help to slow the game down and have a better understanding for what's going on in the game," Johnson said of the sessions. "I think that's probably the biggest thing I've been needing, the mental aspect of the game.
"I think physically I have the tools to be a really good player in this league. It's just mentally staying with it. It's such a long season. There's going to be so many ups and downs, but all the great players talk about having that even-keel, not getting to high or two low on themselves. It's something I've been working on."
Johnson said he has put aside 30 minutes a day for meditation sessions over the past month.
"I'm pretty sure a lot of people couldn't do it," he said. "It's being able to be sit and be quiet and not listen to negative self talk and negative thinking and trying to focus on more of the positive things you have."
That has come to include the first five minutes of every day.
"Most people, first thing they do is check their phone or check their text messages or Instagram or whatever," he said. "But, for me, I just take five minutes when I first get up to kind of play in my mind how I want the day to go."
The approach includes Johnson's own version of film study provided by California-based Lott, founder of the "Balanced: Mind, Body, Soul" program and website.
"Hailey, she'll send me little five-minute videos, five-minute clips," he said, "and it's more of a guided meditation. Sometimes you're just trying to sit there and be quiet and just take deep breaths, focusing on your breath, different things you can do with for whatever people need.
"Then, during the game when you feel like your mind is starting to wander, you're able to bring yourself back to the moment, to the next play. You're not focused on negative self talk. You've already practiced doing it. During the game it's a little bit easier."