World Cup: The psychological effects and how to cope

World Cup: The psychological effects and how to cope

World Cup: The psychlogical effects and how to cope

Have you become bored stiff of everyone talking about who is going to win this time, the favorite teams or even why this year’s World Cup’s song is not that exciting? Well, you are caught in the middle of World Cup frenzy and for the next 30 days your husband, son, nephew, wife, mom, daughter, neighbor, friend, sister, brother and father are going to live soccer! It is one of those phenomenon that are unexplainable.

The world does not just play football, but it watches it, bets on it, argues about it, spends money on it and even bonds over it. There have been books written to explain the effect of football on other things of life.  Football or soccer as it is called her in the US,  has a global precedence. In fact in America it has been claimed that being in Seattle on the day of a soccer match is like being in another world. It will be highly relevant to analyze the psychology of the fans and their behaviors while the World Cup fever is on. Let’s try to understand the psychology of the supporter while the tournament, held in Brasil, is going to take up everything else for the next 30 days.

The loyalty factor

For an onlooker, the passion for football may seem irrational but it is a way of life and a metaphor for everything in life for many. In countries like London, the loyalty towards football is a much talked about and researched phenomenon. The passion of the supporters is volatile and vulnerable and sometimes it gives ways to violence. Fans have even resorted to political and personal implications for expressing their loyalty. In their support for a team, the behavior of the fans becomes so much volatile that they even attack the opponent or sneer racist insults making things ugly. There is a general misconception that soccer culture is inherently tribal, violent, ugly and male because of the behavior of some of the fans.

The stakes are high in soccer matches and more often than not the passion and anger is released in a socially accepted manner but it becomes detrimental to the individual and his society when things become completely uncontrollable.  Dr. Parikh asserts that there have research studies to prove that influence and interaction of the interest in the event, impact of the match on the individual, and his identification with the match on their engagement has a profound effect on his behavior.

The highs and the lows

Football passion or loyalty can be identified with tribal behavior. The connection with the team supported and its players are so strong that when their team loses, some fans may suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress or depression. Similarly, if the team wins, there is a state of transient euphoria. This personal high or low may sometimes adversely affect the health of the fan and the endorphin which is released may even have the potential for causing addiction.

Many supporters believe that football has given a sense of meaning to them and consider it to be an intellectual alternative to many other things. Football has the capacity to engage much more people when compared with work and this has the potential of leaving harmful effect not only on the supporter but on his family as well.  Studies have revealed that higher the impact and the interest in the game, the greater the emotions of the supporter and the fan.

A time for bonding

It can be easily said that during the world cup tournament, the general public becomes unified in the knowledge of the game, teams, players and the feeling becomes re-iterated with the matches being played in all public places. This natural bonding is quite strong because even the individuals who are not interested in the sport are exposed to it while the World Cup is on.

Football has strong effect on strengthening the national ties and even the perceptions of all humanity sharing the same experience. Thus, football world cup has been encouraging inclusion at the level of communities and exclusion are the level of nationalism.

Football brings out the primeval tribal tendencies reminding the fans of the psychological significance of a being a part of an in-group, developing a strong sense of identity and understanding themselves.

It is important to keep your emotions and feelings in check while the World Cup is being played and not let their emotions take over their actions.

Throw the stress out of the window

Football or soccer is meant to be a leisure activity and entertainment of fans to send the stresses and strains of routine life into some other place. Do not make it a reason for causing stress! Dr. Parikh from Second Arc Life Center reiterates that the game can have a profound positive effect on the social and mental health if taken in the right perspective. There are a few tips which you should follow this world cup to keep the stress of winning and losing away.

  1. Look forward to the matches as an opportunity for confronting the familiar with the thrill of unknown.
  2. Keep your sporting spirit alive. Be happy and euphoric when your team wins but there is no need to take the loss negatively.
  3. It is important to keep your emotions and feelings in check while the world cup is being played and not let their emotions take over their actions.
  4. Keep it cathartic. Release your tension then and there by shouting, screaming, or chanting. Take out your frustration, annoyance or sadness in a socially acceptable way.
  5. Remember, football is a part of your life not your whole life. So make it an experience which strengthens you mentally and does not adds to your worries or stress.
  6. Develop strong relationships during the match. Go to the matches with friends, family or colleagues. People with healthy relationships stay mentally healthy. Football acts as a social leveler letting you interact with people from different backgrounds and different walks of life.
  7. Keep it in perspective. Don’t let your love for game to become an obsession. Draw a line and let football leave a positive impact on your relationships and identity.

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