Categories
#mental health

Mental Health and the NBA

A few days ago, All Star player for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George opened up about his struggles with mental health

The NBA playoffs are currently taking place in Orlando inside “The Bubble’ creating a sense of isolation away from family and friends and that sense of normality we have all learned to appreciate just a little bit more

In the extract below from an article published in SB Nation.com on August 26th, we get to understand more about his situation.

The Article

Paul George has spent the last week being the biggest punchline in the NBA. The Los Angeles Clippers forward was struggling immensely through the first four games of his team’s series with the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the first player since 1960 to shoot under 25 percent from the field in three straight playoff games. 

The jokes started to fly at George’s expense. The internet didn’t forget that he nicknamed himself “Playoff P” a few years back. The criticism was clearly getting to George. He posted corny memes to his Instagram account and disabled the comments. He said his knack wasn’t to score the ball. While the criticism over his play felt partially deserved as the series became tied at 2-2 on Luka Doncic’s immaculate buzzer-beater, some of it was starting to get ugly and personal. 

The Clippers needed George to be the best version of himself in Game 5 on Tuesday night, and George delivered. He finished the night with 35 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field as Los Angeles skated to an impressive 154-111 victory. This was the player the Clippers were waiting for

After the game, George opened up on his struggles and how life in the bubble was impacting him. “The bubble got the best of me,” George said. “I was in a dark place.”

George continued to elaborate on how he was feeling post-game, talking about how the constant feedback loop was affecting his mental health while he couldn’t escape to the outside world in the bubble. 

“I under estimated mental health, honestly. I had anxiety. A little bit of depression. Just being locked in here …. I checked out.”

It wasn’t until he spoke with a professional, that he was able to move away from the darkness

George mentioned conversations he had with the team’s psychiatrist that played a role in his “energy” and “spirit” changing.

What this means for other pro athletes

When you read or hear about a professional athlete open up about their struggles, another professional athlete can draw inspiration and confidence knowing that opening up and talking is an option to consider and because the outcome was productive and positive, the athlete can see the positive effects of opening up

Other athletes opening up

Paul George wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last athlete to face mental health issues. Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan are two other NBA players that have experienced issues and there are countless footballers (soccer players) that have also struggled with mental health)

What next?

If you know of an athlete or you are an athlete struggling to deal with the pressures and experiences professional sports bestow upon you, the message is clear – SPEAK TO A PROFESSIONAL.

Not only do you remove those negative feelings and emotions, but your performance increases almost immediately.

Categories
#mental health

Comparing mental health with physical health – solutions

The Similarities

When comparing mental health and physical health its important to you that you understand the reality for many people in this world so you know what to do and what to say because this hard hitting blog will open your perspectives in new ways.

I’ll put to one side clinical mental and physical health because those issues deserve much more attention so this blog focuses on general mental and physical health.

Let’s look at the similarities

  • Everyone experiences physical and mental health
  • Both fluctuate depending on life choices
  • Both can improve
  • Both can decline
  • Both have support organisations offering help
  • Not everyone will experience negative mental and physical health
  • Some take both very seriously
  • Some live a life where both aren’t an issue
  • Some live a life where both are an issue
  • Both are the results of experiences and life choices

The Differences

  • You can see the results of one

We are quick to judge when we see others. It’s how we are programmed in our unconscious minds to keep the human race alive and so we judge people by their looks to help us connect and realise if that person is worthy of our time and attention.

We are social animals so we have to create judgements so we create a social circle that meets our beliefs and values so we fit in and have a support mechanism around us.

Looks Aren’t Everything

The world is full of people of all shapes and sizes and we are quick to judge their physical health based on what they look like.

We see all different types of body types, colours, shapes, heights and we create a judgment based on our expectations and beliefs of the world that allow us to understand what we see and we make judgements on the type of person they may be without actually speaking with them.

Is it fair we judge others without getting to know them?

We form opinions of them just as they form opinions of us.

Let’s say you see someone across the room at a party and they are overweight. It would be easy to say their health is at risk and assume they struggle with phsycial activity. But once a conversation starts, you learn more about their situation and the initial judgment melts away as you create a new understanding and appreciation for them as a human being.

Hiding Behind The Mask

Physical health is obvious and when we consider sports, we know when an athlete is out of shape.

Their data is poor, their times are poor and by looking at how they move, you can tell where they are at through comparing their data and movement with others. There is no hiding from having poor physical health as an athlete.

But mental health can be hidden behind a select few words “I’m OK coach, I’m just tired”, “I’ll get over it. I only missed a penalty”, “it’s another loss but I’ll put more work in”.

Hiding behind this mask not only sends the wrong message to others, but it questions your self-worth, creating a dangerous mix of incongruence and hiding the truth, meaning others and yourself will continue to behave as though nothing is wrong.

Making Choices

As I mentioned earlier there are many similarities between physical and mental health and deciding to do something about it when things are going wrong is a choice.

There are people out there who don’t value their physical health. They will continue to eat junk food, take no exercise, drink too much and live a life that’s over endulgant, even though they know their health is at risk and accept they will work it out for themselves and they will be ok

In the same breath, there are people who don’t value their mental health. They are overwhelmed, feeling stuck but feel they should work it out for themselves and they will be ok.

There’s a lesson I’ve learned over the years that I want to share with you because as much as we don’t like to think of people suffering on their own and there has to be more done to help, we have to accept some people don’t want help.

A New Perspective

But knowing not everyone wants help, we can provide help for those that need help. We have to push harder to provide cultures and environments where admitting you’re struggling, admitting you’re finding it hard, admitting you’re in a challenging place and you need help, is seen as courageous and normal.

These environments and cultures need to be implemented in professional sports and within organisations and anywhere where there’s human interaction and responsibility.

Empowerment And Self-Worth

We have to encourage individuals to appreciate, the choices they make will impact on their health.

We have to encourage individuals to understand what you do doesn’t define you but rather who you are defines you. A person shouldn’t be defined as a footballer that’s made a mistake. A person shouldn’t be defined as a player who’s no longer good enough. A person should be defined through how they approach a problem or challenge and if needed, offered the right support.

What Next?

If this blog has allowed you to understand mental health a little better, please comment and share with your network because as you know, you can’t see mental health issues but you can put information in front of a person, allow them to digest it and make a choice.

Categories
Leadership

Leadership in today’s sporting world

Fast Fast Fast!

People wanted things to happen fast! In this crazy world we live in, there was an expectation of getting things done almost immediately after an idea had formed and often these decisions lack a certain level of purpose.

Yet in this time of lockdown, there seems to be a change in attitude where we’ve been handed the gift of time and with time, we can afford to reflect and really consider the choices available to us.

Leadership has shifted and with that in mind I’d like to share some insights for the leader of today to consider.

Having A Reason To Change

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

When you’re losing, you’ve not got leadership right.

When you’re frustrated and anxious, you haven’t got leadership right.

When your team isn’t performing as well as you imagined, you haven’t got leadership right.

But here’s the thing…not every leader will admit things need to change.

Not every leader will hold their hands up and say, ‘you know what, this style isn’t working and I have to learn to do things differently.’

They tend to accept their fate which is usually someone else coming in to replace them.

My question is this – Have you got a reason to change?

Have you got what it takes to be adaptable and flexible to the reality that surrounds you?

Change Can Be Uncomfortable

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

To change, involves thinking and acting differently and that invites uncomfortable thoughts and actions but there is something very powerful I want you to understand.

Just as a player has to push themselves and experience discomfort to improve, you as a leader must experience discomfort to improve.

Discomfort isn’t negative!

Discomfort when there is a purpose behind it, allows the person to experience lightbulb moments and insights that can quickly remove anxiety and frustrations through shifting perspectives and learning new concepts whilst removing limiting and mistaken beliefs.

Are you able to have an open mind to learning new perspectives?

Taking The Right Action

Once you’ve opened your mind to new perspectives and removed limiting and mistaken beliefs, it’s time to think about taking action.

Action comes in the form of many different guises, one being using different body language, tone and words with people. 55% of communication is visual (your body language) 38% of communication is your voice (tone, inflection, etc) 7% is verbal (your words).

People are very observant and it’s through observation they judge your behaviours and attempt to align your words and tone with your body language and when there’s a sense of misalignment, a sense of incongruence fills their minds as your disingenuous actions leave them feeling uncertain about your leadership.

You can lose trust from uttering a simple few words, then acting in a way that contradicts your words and although this act is so simple, it can be damaging to your team, your production and reputation.

SUCCESS

As a leader you want to align your words and tone with your body language and guide your team to success but very few leaders know the real meaning of success so allow me to suggest this concept.

Many believe success is winning games, trophies and titles, having big houses, lots of money and a beautiful partner.

Many believe winning equates to success.

Yet there is an element of success that’s missing.

Fulfilment!

How many people do you know that have a great salary, have won on some level, yet they seem down and unsatisfied? How many ‘successful’ people do you know that struggle with life and suffer from mental health issues?

The second element of success is fulfilment and without it, winning is just an empty outcome of the hard work you put in.

You must strive towards fulfilling your life through knowing what really matters to you when the glitz and glory are over because right now, you’re sitting pretty but at some point it will all end and as I found out today from reading articles about football managers losing their jobs, it can end in the blink of an eye.

The value of fulfilment becomes obvious and necessary when you leave the game, when things are going wrong and when others stop believing in you.

I’d like to invite you to download a manual that can provide you with insights and new perspectives to help you understand what you can focus on changing to start winning.