By Scott Atkinson
Whether or not you like it, football, has had a profound impact on our lives beyond the excitement it brings to stadiums and living rooms. Beyond the goals and victories, football plays a significant role in promoting mental health and well-being. In this short article, we will explore how this sport, loved by millions worldwide, positively influences mental health and how you can get involved in your own football journey.
One of the primary ways football benefits mental health is by serving as a stress reliever. Engaging in physical activity, like playing football, triggers the release of endorphins – the body’s natural mood lifters. These endorphins help reduce stress and anxiety, leaving players and fans alike feeling more relaxed and content. So win or lose people that play or watch tend to come back for more because beyond the perceived anger at a particular game, result or decision there lies a much deeper an overall positive to keep coming back for.
Football is a game that thrives on teamwork and fun. Whether you’re playing on a local team or cheering for your favourite club, football provides a sense of belonging and social connection. It encourages individuals to interact, form bonds, and build supportive communities, all of which are crucial for mental well-being. This is also a major bonus for why service users like to be involved it give a real buzz of energy around the hospital on match days and a lot of the time the game feels like a whole day out for everyone involved.
A healthy body often leads to a healthy mind. If this is true then football is a great way to get physical fit, as it combines aerobic exercise with strength training and agility. These are all things you will have heard your health or gym staff talk about. Regular physical activity has been linked to improved mental health by reducing symptoms of depression and boosting self-esteem.
Setting and achieving goals are essential for mental well-being. In football, players learn the value of setting goals, both individually and as a team. Whether it’s mastering a new skill, scoring a goal, or winning a match, football teaches valuable lessons about perseverance, dedication, and the satisfaction of achieving your objectives. Football also teaches players to cope with stress and adversity. On the field, players face constant challenges and pressure, forcing them to develop resilience and emotional control. These skills are not only useful in football but can be applied to various life situations, enhancing mental resilience.
To excel in football, players need to stay focused, be in the moment, and make quick decisions. This level of concentration can be a form of mindfulness, which has been shown to reduce stress and improve mental clarity. Playing and watching football can help individuals practice this valuable skill. Football provides a safe outlet for emotional expression. Whether it’s the elation of scoring a winning goal or the frustration of missing a crucial opportunity, football allows players and fans to experience a wide range of emotions in a controlled environment, which can be therapeutic.
If you would like to be involved in either playing or supporting football why not ask a member of staff if you can be involved. There are teams currently at Stockton Hall and Humber Centre and both would welcome anyone that is interested in either playing or perhaps just training with the team to see if what it’s like.
Thanks for reading! Scott.