It was going to be the Pandemic Olympics, a series of depressing games that would elicit indifference at best. Then there was sport, which did its job. Tokyo was great, despite the lack of visitors and the looming menace of Covid. It also evolved into something new: the Mental Health Olympics.
When Simone Biles withdrew from the gymnastics competitions, she brought an unprecedented spotlight to the psychological problems of professional athletics.
One of the greatest athletes of all time had opted to put her thinking ahead of her will – and the huge pressure – to win. “There’s more to life than gymnastics,” she explained.
She returned to the beam event after taking stock in a Tokyo gym, winning a bronze medal in what may have seemed like one of her biggest successes A component of an athletic summer has been mental health.
Biles cited Naomi Osaka, the Japanese tennis player who withdrew from this year’s French Open to deal with anxiety and despair. Brain over brawn generated debate at Wembley, when England’s penalty “curse” reappeared, and at Wimbledon, where British wildcard Emma Raducanu exited the psychological furnace of No. 1 Court prematurely.
Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish returned to the Tour de France in stunning fashion after conquering depression.
Keeping your cool under pressure is important not just in sports but also in your life. Sports professionals show you how to do that.
Cut your objectives in half
Sports psychologist Claire-Marie Roberts says, “If you’re in a very difficult position. It actually helps to break larger goals down into parts.”
Self-talk can help you avoid imposter syndrome
“Use positive affirmations,” adds Roberts. “Tell yourself, ‘I can do this, I’ve done it before, I’m supposed to be here.’”
Visualize your achievement
Roberts explains, “This is critical for establishing trust,” “Imagine yourself completing the objectives you’ve set for yourself.”
Pay attention to the repercussions
Sports psychiatrist Steve Peters says, “If we don’t address the results of what we’re attempting to do, they can feed on our thoughts and weaken attention. Go through the consequences of failure or achievement one at a time and lay them to rest.”
“Breathing, muscular relaxation, meditation, or simply listening to music can help bring you down from a state of heightened arousal and allow you to refocus,” Roberts explains.
Concentrate on what isn’t working
Peters adds, “You’re asking yourself what you’re doing that isn’t helping you achieve your goal, and you’re focused on that.”
Celebrate your victories
Geir Jordet, a psychology professor, says, “It’s crucial to indicate that you’re delighted to everyone around you when you do well in a team – it’s contagious.
Jordet advises, “Don’t pass time for the purpose of passing time, which may result in overthinking and unnecessary stress. Take a few seconds to concentrate on what you can manage.”
Finally here’s a video in which Dr. Jonathan Fader, a performance psychologist and author of ‘Life as Sport,’ explained how athletes keep their minds concentrated and offers advice on how to stay focused.”