How Football affects your Mental Health?

Football benefits Mental health by giving an opportunity to have a time away from stresses and strains of life. Seeing your team do well, prompts a feeling of collective euphoria and joy.

Basking in reflected glory (BIRGing) not only lifts the mood of an individual but also of the entire community. BIRGing fans associate themselves to the success of team. Identification with the teams success enhances ones self esteem and instills a sense of accomplishment.

The perception of having such attributes makes one feel more confident and thus more desirable to others.

While watching football, fans shout, scream and chant, these ways often encourage ‘a cathartic release of tension’. It is also a socially acceptable way of venting out emotions of frustration and sadness. Young age group, in whom depression is very common and is at a highest risk for suicide, is also a dominant age group in football crowds across the country.

Watching a live game of football is like participating in group activity with people who share common values and interests. It not only provides a sense of belonging but also an identification and inclusion within a larger group.

For most fans, football is a part of their lives. However, for whom it becomes the main focus, on their team losing they can experience significant psychological problems of anxiety and depression.

Football provides a platform to gossip, communicate and exchange views, which are often known as protective factors in mental well-being. It also provides people a reason to meet up regularly, which helps them to maintain strong relationships. In particular, for those who are shy, are from different cultural and social backgrounds, football allows to connect with each other easily.

To some it can present an opportunity to re-enact their ritual of battle, which if taken too far can lead to serious violence. Such acts of violence differentiate a fan from ‘football hooligan’. An opportunity for competition, achieving ‘honor’ and inflicting shame on opponents is often a motivation behind such violent behaviour. Heavy alcohol drinking is often a key element in many violent offences by football fans.

Football as a sport can be even more beneficial to physical and mental health if taken to the field as an exercise.