world cup

Mental Health and World Cup

Many people are getting hyped and excited as the World Cup is nearing. However, little do they know how much pressure these footballers are under. Footballers are recruited from a very young age. They are roped into this stressful life, having to perform well to keep their contract going. This type of pressure and stress are developed in them at a young age and are significantly heightened during their teenage years, along with their body and hormonal changes. This type of pressure and stress may start off unnoticeable at first. Still, eventually, it can even lead to depression, as players who struggle to keep up would feel like they are not good enough.

Although some people play football for fun, players have their whole life on the line with football. Playing football as a sport for fun can be very stress relieving. It can help people be productive and release good hormones, which can be very beneficial. However, for players, especially professionally, one wrong move and their whole career can be on the line. Only some players chosen from a young age managed to maintain a solid contract until retirement. Therefore, this builds the pressure and anxiety they would find challenging to overcome. Even in the long run, sometimes, one mistake that others may forget would be remembered by the player, increasing their anxiety. We must be aware of these effects on players’ mental health and ensure they receive the proper treatment they require.

Signs of sports anxiety are hyperventilation and muscle tension. Hyperventilation includes breathing very heavily at a fast rate and may feel like one is struggling to breathe. Muscle tension can occur within the muscles, and it would be excruciating, along with feeling pain in one’s head. Eventually, sports anxiety can lead to self-sabotage in which one would purposely skip a meal as an excuse for their bad performance to save face. Another outcome would be lashing out. Players would feel so pressured that they would start to take out their stress by lashing out at other players or even getting physical with them.

Being stressed can lead to feeling depressed, neglected, uninterested in life and an inability to enjoy yourself. Such negative feelings can most definitely take a toll on one’s health. Physical signs of stress can include panic attacks, blurred eyes, indigestion, feeling sick, dizzy or fainting. Feeling this way and experiencing these signs may put too much pressure to continue training in football. However, these football players make it work and ensure that they do their best performance regardless.

This year’s World Cup in Qatar has taken the initiative to promote mental health awareness and add unique benches for the nations that are being represented. These benches are known as “Friendship Benches”. The idea behind it is to promote mental health and let people know that there is always someone to talk to and they can always reach out for help. These go out to the players who go through a challenging journey representing their team in the World Cup and us. Although football may seem like a sport or a group you support, always remember to help the players individually and appreciate their hard work instead of complaining if they were to make a mistake or lose.

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