Feeling stress is part of being human. Whether we’re talking about small stresses that happen as we go about our days or the big ones that can truly derail our lives from time to time, there’s certainly a common thread: Left unchecked, these stressors can have a negative impact on our health.
We all acknowledge the importance of making room in our schedules for activities that help us relax and decompress, but we aren’t always as creative in our approach as we could be. The possibilities extend far beyond taking up long distance running, or journaling our feelings.
While you may not have considered it before, something as easy as becoming a sports fan is actually a great way to reduce stress.
Consider the following ways that cheering on your favorite team can improve your well-being:
Connect With Family and Friends
Watching sports is a great way to spend time enjoying a beloved activity with family and friends. What’s more, it can trigger fond memories of playing on sports teams as a child or teen — and such happy thoughts can help wash away any building tension and anxiety.
Many families have favorite sports teams that have been enjoyed for decades. If your family doesn’t already have a favorite team, why not start a tradition? Grab a jersey and get behind your home team.
Build Your Community
Being a sports fan means being a part of something bigger – a true community. Whether the fandom you join celebrates football, baseball or a non-sports interest, just being part of it can lift your spirits.
For many, being a sports lover can also help alleviate some social anxieties by serving as a great topic of conversation with just about anyone.
Inspire Physical Activity
Of course, playing a sport has great physical benefits for the professional athletes on the field. At the same time, watching the game can also inspire fans to be more physically active themselves. Sure, you might not be the next Aaron Gordon, but joining your local rec basketball league can help reduce your stress and improve your physical fitness level.
Provide Healthy Outlet for Emotions
Watching a live game or a televised match of your hometown team serves as a healthy outlet for a wide range of emotions – emotions that you might have otherwise held in.
During the course of any given game, you might experience extreme joy, anger, bliss or even rage. But, at the end of the game – regardless of whether your team is victorious or not – you return to your everyday life.
This serves as a healthy form of escapism that can offer immediate stress relief, allowing you to set aside the troubles of your life for a few hours as you’re immersed in the game.
Get Out to a Game
It’s our sincere hope that you’ve found consistent renewal — in body, mind and spirit — in many healthy activities over the years. But in honor of Stress Awareness Month, why not take the opportunity to see your favorite basketball team, like the Orlando Magic, live. You’ll be doing more than just supporting your hometown team, you’ll be washing your cares away and improving your whole health, too.