Local counselor encourages athletes to prioritize mental health

Pine Belt

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – More people have been talking about athletes and mental health in sports after Simone Biles pulled out of gymnastics events at the Olympics.

Experts said people who play sports fail to take stress into account while monitoring the load of life and the game they love. People who forget to manage their load sometimes experience mental errors and physical issues.

Being in distress is an inevitable part of playing sports. Many athletes are able to ignore their pain and continue to play the game. Sometimes it’s due to their determination.

“It is a real battle trying to keep at that same level of energy and stamina, and sometimes you’re going without sleep. It’s not just the professional antheses. Sometimes it could be our children or our students that are in high school just trying to keep up with the routine,” explained Leona Bishop, a licensed counselor with Count it All Joy.

Bishop said if the athlete works on being aware of the signs from their body when they are stressing out, they can then put some interventions in place. She explained there are four zones to gauging stress, but the most important are the orange and red. Bishop said there are warning signs. 

“When we have trouble concentrating, we have trouble were forgetting things. We’re making a lot of mistakes. This could be things like changes in our appetite. Physically, we are starting to notice things that are happening. Our sleep pattern is off. We are up when we should be sleep, and sleep when we should be up things are off. I’m not going to say starting to be off, because when they were starting to be off was when we were in that yellow zone when things were still somewhat manageable.”

Just because stress took an athlete out of the game, it doesn’t mean they won’t ever play again. The counselor said athletes can build up another muscle.

“Things you can do on a regular, and the reason why you want to practice some of these breathing techniques, this mindfulness just being present and enjoying that moment is because when you are in distress, you will be more likely to be able to have the tolerance and to regulate yourself, so you’ll have to practice some of these strategies,” said Bishop.

For athletes pushing through what they have to on a regular day and then having to meet the expectations for themselves, their fans and team could be a lot of pressure.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories