Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Five Ways Sports Can Help Your Mental Health

Games are meant to be opportunities for people to engage in structured fun. They also force participants up off the sofa and out the door into the sunshine. In addition, the physical requirements of group recreation keep team members active and create the perfect buddy system where nobody has to play alone. As a result of these perks, sports are an excellent way to fortify your mental health. Still not sure you should sign up for the local club? Consider the following ways you may benefit. 

Meet People and Makes Friends

The essence of a team is that it is made up of more than one person, and those people must work together to succeed. Some matchups, such as bowling, are based on each individual taking a turn and tracking everyone’s scores. Other athletics require ten or more allies simultaneously on the field. Nearly every crew will necessitate equipment, but typically whatever you need, from softball gloves to cleats, can be easily purchased. Once you are properly outfitted, you may enjoy the feeling of belonging that comes with wearing a uniform. Moreover, you will be able to sit on the bench or in the stands and chat it up with fellow adventurers, and a key aspect of mental health is socializing. 

Provide a Purpose

When you are committed to other people, you have a reason to get out of bed. It helps to know someone is expecting you to show up at a park for practice or a game. The sense of security associated with being needed can be reassuring and add to a feeling of personal value. Furthermore, the camaraderie surrounding leisurely competition may allow you to move away from negative beliefs about yourself and toward a more positive mindset. That said, make sure you find a league with a similar perspective regarding wins and losses. Ask if carrying home the championship trophy is a priority and then decide if that is a good fit for you.  

Disconnect from Technology

As convenient as they are, cell phones and other devices can be a source of anxiety. Users depend on having their phone in hand and feel panicked when they need to set it down. Moreover, some cultivate an emotional obsession with waiting for a notification or checking social media. This isolating behavior separates you from conversations and interactions and can contribute to instability. On the other hand, frolicking about a pickleball court or softball diamond can take your mind off the virtual world and encourage your involvement in the real world.

Challenge Your Limits

Not everyone enjoys going head to head and keeping score. Running and hiking clubs remove rivalries but still supply links to social settings and immerse you in nature. Just fifteen minutes of vitamin D a few times throughout the week can boost your mood and revive your spirit. The quiet found outdoors can be soothing and dole out much-needed calmness where you sit and reflect.

Write About What Brings You Peace

Set aside moments each day where you can journal about your activities. It does not matter whether you pause in the middle of a trek and rest under a tree, remain on the turf after a game, or retire to a serene area at home before bed; the key is to record the best parts of your day. Inevitably, there will be some dark points, but training your brain to concentrate on what went right and what felt good can reaffirm that you are doing okay. Likewise, the journal can be a nice place to return to for further reassurance when something hurtful occurs.

Mental health and physical health are interrelated. Therefore, when you become a part of a larger athletic community, you are also taking steps to prioritize your well-being.

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