Psychology undercuts everything we do. It affects how we treat people, impacts our creative drive and even influences the food we eat or the hobbies we partake in. Sports psychology is an entire field dedicated to understanding how the mental brain combines with the physical body to yield legendary results. Mental imagery, mental wellness and social life balance are all key traits in a successful, happy athlete. Should you be new to the field of psychology as well as all the different types of sports psychology available, below will provide you with some simple information to help you get started.
What Is Mental Imagery?
A phrase that is regularly brought to attention in many psychology circles, mental imagery is a psychological skill used to promote creativity, determination and focus. It generally consists of five main categories. You have the cognitive-specific, the cognitive-general, the motivational-specific, the motivational-general mastery and the motivational-general arousal. All of these play an active part in the daily tasks of people, whether it’s training for a show or attending a job interview.
How Does Mental Wellness Affect Performance?
Mental wellness is the key to creating powerful performances. The field of sports psychology is dedicated to pinpointing the more common factors that hinder an athlete in order to solve them. A survey consisting of multiple elite athletes saw the majority of them reporting at least half of their superior athletic performance is based on mental factors. Likewise, developing mental toughness via MST has been proven to greatly influence the finishing time of the average athlete. When taking into account fitness, weather and nutrition, mental toughness accounted for at least 15% of the outcome.
What Is Anxiety?
A common disorder that affects far more people than previously thought, anxiety is one of the most significant inhibitors on the way to progress. This condition is characterized by irrational fear, racing thoughts, nervous habits and excessive concerns about relatively minor problems. This constant barrage of negative thoughts and imagery can cause physical side-effects such as fatigue, forgetfulness, social withdrawal and increased rates of illness. Studies have shown 60% of anxiety-prone people displaying marked improvement in their anxiety levels after six to nine months of ongoing mediation therapies.
What Are Effective Treatments For Anxiety?
When anxiety can keep performers from reaching their greatest heights, anxiety treatments are proven to work. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most widely accepted methods of treating various forms of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorder. Therapies involve constant communication with a trusted therapist, the implementation of weekly goals and even lifestyle changes. Psychotherapy is very familiar with the art of addressing anxiety and, thanks to modern advances, sports psychology has only benefited from new knowledge.
How Can I Promote Better Sports Psychology?
A licensed clinical psychologist can assist you with providing your athletes and students with the tools they need to promote superior mental wellness. Sports psychology techniques, such as invoking mental imagery, have been proven to encourage better performance in athletes than those without such resources. An NCAA study based on the experiences of college athletes, in particular, saw 60% of respondents saying they feel more like students than athletes. Sports is more than just physical activity. It’s a harmonious application of mental and physical processes. With a happy balance on their side, athletes have a much better chance of achieving their goals.
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