The Weight We All Carry: Stress
The month of April is Stress Awareness Month, and here at TOPPS we recognize that it is essential for this topic to be emphasized, as stress is something that affects us all. Whether it is getting to work on time, completing an assignment, or finishing a difficult workout for practice, our bodies experience a form of short-term stress. At other times we experience forms of long-term stress, including things like racial discrimination, life-threatening illnesses, or divorce. Research shows that both types of stress can negatively influence your body, your mental state, and even make you more likely to get sick. Most people overlook the mental and emotional effects that stress has on them because these are often not taken seriously when compared to things like physical injuries. However, being healthy includes both the body and the mind.
Basketball player Kevin Love is a prime example of looking at health from all angles. He recently opened up about having a panic attack during one of his basketball games against the Hawks. Expanding on what he learned from his panic attack, Love states,
Mental health isn’t just an athlete thing… No matter what our circumstances, we’re all carrying around things that hurt—and they can hurt us if we keep them buried inside. Not talking about our inner lives robs us of really getting to know ourselves and robs us of the chance to reach out to others in need. So, if you’re reading this and you’re having a hard time, no matter how big or small it seems to you, I want to remind you that you’re not weird or different for sharing what you’re going through (The Players’ Tribune).
Through his experience with extreme stress, Love recognized the importance of ensuring that his mind is just as healthy as his body. Love is not the only athlete that has emphasized the importance of mental health to others. DeMar DeRozan, another basketball player, recently addressed his own struggles when he tweeted “this depression gets the best of me…” (Mutoni, 2018). This athlete made it known that just because he is an NBA superstar does not mean that he is the exception to mental illness. Extreme stress can be detrimental to anyone and can cause us to experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, etc. Learn more about chronic stress here. It is for this reason that it is essential for you to be aware of your stress and to recognize this impact that it has on your mental and emotional state.
Both Love and DeRozan emphasize the fact that extreme stress and mental struggles are not “just an athlete thing”. In addition, Love points out that “everyone is going through something that we can’t see”, and “you never know what a person is going through” (The Player’s Tribune). Although we will not be able to rid ourselves of many of these short- and long-term stressors, psychologists in the field have made great advances in developing tools that can help us manage them. We hope that you’ll contact us if you’d like to add some new tools to your toolbox to more efficiently manage what life throws at you!
Alvord, M., Davidson, K, Kelly, J., McGuiness, K. & Tovian, S. American Psychological Association. Understanding Chronic Stress. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-chronic-stress.aspx
Mutoni, M. (2018, February 26). DeMar DeRozan Addresses Depression Tweet. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from http://www.slamonline.com/nba/demar-derozan-addresses-depression-tweet/
AmeriHealth (2009, April 07). Effects of Stress on the Body. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from https://www.amerihealth.com/worksite_wellness/employer_toolkits/stress_awareness.html
“Everyone Is Going Through Something | By Kevin Love.” The Players' Tribune, www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/kevin-love-everyone-is-going-through-something.