Emotional health is not the same as mental health. Although they are sometimes used interchangeably, the former focuses on being in touch with your emotions, authenticity, and vulnerability. Athletes are in a demanding industry, so staying in touch with their emotional side is not always easy.
Good emotional health is vital for self-awareness, resilience, and overall fulfillment. And in an industry where the goal is to push yourself to greater heights, this is much more needed. It is important to note that having excellent emotional health doesn’t mean that you will always be happy.
Neither does it mean that you will never have negative emotions or stress. It means having the proper resources and skills to cope with everyday stresses and events, such as taking up a hobby or playing fun slots on jackpot casinos. Emotional well-being is, therefore, vital for any athlete intending to lead a happy and wholesome life. Here are some of the top reasons why it is crucial.
Why do athletes shy away from emotional and mental health awareness?
Talking about emotions is complicated as it is talking about mental wellness. Compound that with the internal struggle that athletes have acknowledging and managing their feelings without feeling judged by those around them. This is magnified when it goes beyond your direct relationships and networks, which professional athletes go through.
Pro athletes are exposed to criticism from millions of people worldwide. The stigma around emotional well-being in athletes is skewed by perception. Some people may find it odd for such strong, famous people to talk about being vulnerable and discuss being in touch with their emotions.
Most fail to recognize that professional athletes are as human as anyone else. The stigma around emotional well-being results in more fear, silence, and further emotional health issues. Here are some things that fuel stigma around athletes’ emotional and mental health.
Lack of awareness: it is difficult to spot when someone isn’t in touch with their emotions or when someone is experiencing stress. There is no machine to diagnose these struggles, so it is difficult to recognize when someone is having emotional issues.
Failing to admit there is an issue: Some coaches and team owners don’t want to lose their best players or want to have to contribute towards the emotional well-being of their players. Unfortunately, this only detaches the athletes from their emotions, which is detrimental.
The absence of psychological safety: Athletes may not want to be vulnerable and admit that they are struggling out of the fear that the general community and network will see them as weak if they share their emotional struggles.
Fear of losing a job or scholarship: Athletes are taught and expected to push their limits and achieve set objectives. Therefore, it is only natural for athletes to worry about taking some time to recover from perpetual stress since they might end up unemployed or lose their scholarships. Additionally, teams are likely to be skeptical about hiring people they deem “emotionally fragile”.
Importance of emotional well-being among athletes
1. Good physical health
Physical and emotional health are intertwined. They are two sides of the same coin, so they have a strong connection. If you are going through a hard time emotionally, other areas of your life, such as your academics, family, and work, will also be affected.
Typically, you will not be able to undertake your daily activities as well as before. It is also difficult to enjoy things that you find exciting and fun. When you are struggling, it is easy to develop anxiety and, in some cases, depression too, which can break a pro athlete’s career and prospects.
If you are struggling with emotional health, your psychiatrist will focus on more than just helping you resolve the physical symptoms. A reputable psychiatrist will treat emotional health conditions such as depression using therapies and help you get to a better space emotionally.
2. To promote productivity and financial stability
WHO put out a report estimating that 200 million workdays are lost yearly because of depression alone. This report does not even account for the other emotional conditions. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, you will likely take longer sick leaves for more days.
Because of the adverse effects of emotional issues, you are likely to be less productive at work. Less productivity lowers your ability to make an income, yet jobs are pretty volatile in the sports industry. Lastly, poor emotional health results in economic and financial struggles, resulting in an inability to foot most of your bills.
3. Leading a wholesome and happier life
People with emotional health issues such as anxiety and depression are at high risk of developing severe health problems like heart disease. In extreme cases, they can cause death. Emotional and behavioral issues still pose a threat even if you can reach your goals and responsibilities and play your position efficiently.
It is essential to remember that if you fail to address your emotional health issues, the quality of your life will be affected. Other areas, such as your relationships and physical health, will also suffer. Taking care of your emotional health will benefit you in the short and long run.
It is easy to take emotional health for granted just because the symptoms are not as apparent as a broken leg or stomach upsets. However, you must always acknowledge these issues and seek treatment to lead a fulfilling life.