Between college bowl games and the start of pro football playoffs shortly after that, football is on many people’s minds this time of year. Do YOU have a favorite college or pro football team? What goes through your mind when they win – or lose? Perhaps ABC’s Wide World of Sports said it best, “The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.” There’s no getting around the fact that sports is a BIG deal to many of us.
Sports can generate a high rush of adrenalin, especially when your favorite team is playing an important, long-awaited game. For many sports fans, the adrenalin rush can span through the course of many days prior to the big game and then, leave a feeling of depression or melancholy when the game is over. This is commonly referred to by mental health professionals as “sports depression”, or atypical depression.
In fact, after a favorite sporting event is over, sadness, anger, crying, and even disinterest in usual activities is common in the day or two after the big game.
For men, in particular, the onset of sports-related depression may suddenly turn to feelings of anger and this can lead to poor outcomes in your interpersonal relationships – even affecting the ability to work or socialize normally. If the depression does not seem to improve following a few days after the game, mental health services may be needed. In most cases, short-term counseling with a therapist – such as an EA professional — is effective as is sleep, exercise, and an improved diet.
That’s not all. It’s been my experience that keeping the fact it’s still a “game” in perspective can help a LOT, too. Many of us are going to be bummed when our favorite football team loses its bowl game or playoff, and that’s okay because the finality of a promising championship season being over can be tough to take. But is it REALLY the end of the world? Consider: Do you have a loving family? Good health? A job? I’ve found that keeping positive thoughts like these in the forefront of your mind really helps. As the saying goes, “there’s always next year.”