What’s Your Mental Health Riding on?

I have always been a big NBA basketball fan. My love for the Utah Jazz runs deep. When I recently watched the ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, it brought out a bit of a trauma response in me. Dramatic, I know. But after re-watching some of those games where the Jazz lost to the Bulls in the finals, I seriously was taken back to my 11 year old self and the emotions came flooding back.

Having some fun with Canva

Wow! What? How can sports do that? How do we get so wrapped up in something that is completely out of our control, and have it impact our emotions so powerfully? Sports has a way to be apart of our identify. We grow up being a fan of a specific team. They become all we think about, talk about, and what we look forward to. If we are not careful, that team becomes the controller over our emotions. I’ve heard stories of families giving their dad a certain amount of time if his team lost because he would be grumpy for hours or even days after the game.

Life tip: Don’t be that person.

If you are not a sports fan and you are reading this, you might be thinking how crazy this sounds. But let me ask you this: How do you feel on a Monday, compared to a Friday? How do you feel in February compared to July? How do you feel when your annoying neighbor is doing something that bugs you? My point here is that so many things are out of our control, but yet we let them impact our emotions tremendously. It’s alright to feel disappointed, upset, frustrated, and angry. You are human, that’s part of life. Sometimes though, we let those outside influences hijack our emotions and we become victims of life. Always overly frustrated that it is “another bad Monday” or that “my dumb co-workers can’t get anything right” (for the record, I love all my co-workers :).

Manage those feelings by monitoring your thoughts and changing some of your behaviors. When you’ve got so much of your feelings “riding” on things that are outside of your control, take a look at what you are focusing on. Instead of feeling like you can only be happy on your day off or when your favorite team wins, create habits that you can control that bring different forms of happiness any time. Thoughts, feelings, behaviors. Change one to change the others. This the basic form of cognitive behavior therapy.

Learn new approaches to bring about different results. When done consistently, it creates new patterns which bring more feelings of calmness and peace. Lastly, go for a bike ride. It affects all three positively.