Being a Sports Fan Has Healthy Mental Benefits Which Lead to Healthy Physical Benefits

There are so many professional sports to choose to be a fan of in the United States. There is American Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer and so many more. Sometimes we just have an innate attraction to a specific sport and have loved it from as early as we can remember. Other times we don’t become a fan of the sport until maybe we play it in league play or at school or maybe we have a friend who loves a sport and gets us hooked on that particular sport. Sometimes we hear about a professional athlete and love their story and that makes us become a fan of that sport. Whatever reason or however we become a fan of a sport there are positive benefits of being a sports fan.

According to research done by sports psychologist, Daniel Wann of Murray State University, fandom (fans of a particular person, team, etc.) is linked to higher levels of happiness and it lowers people’s feelings of loneliness and or alienation. There are two reasons why someone may feel good by being a fan of a team. One is when we are following a successful team and the other is by simply being part of a group of people who are fans of the same team we are a fan of. Basically community helps to lift our spirits. It’s no different than when we find someone who is a fan of our favorite book series or movie series. We have a commonality which allows us to discuss all aspects of the common interest. There is no greater adrenaline rush then when we are around a group of people who are all cheering for the same team. It feels a person with so much joy which when we are feeling joy the mental health benefits that come along with that are immeasurable.

Feeling a connection with others is important to everyone. Even if we do not know the person personally having a connection of supporting the same team can give a person both social and psychological health. Think what it is like when you are out and about in public shopping or doing any type of errand and you run into someone who is wearing a T-shirt or wearing a cap or wearing any clothing apparel of your favorite team. There is an instant connection with that person. Someone you just met you are connected to. There are times complete strangers can hold a half hour conversation just talking about team they both love. Think about someone who may be having a bad day or something bad is going on in their life just having that conversation for however long or short may have changed their entire day and in changing their day emotionally it also affected their physical health.
When watching a game with others whether at someone’s house or a restaurant or at the venue itself the feeling of loneliness will not feel so overwhelming to a person who is feeling lonely. Some people may say that feeling of loneliness will go away once the game is over and everyone is gone but there is research that finds that just knowing or feeling a person is part of a larger community has long-term positive effects on that person. Just knowing that they are a part of something that others like just like they are helps a person to not feel like they are all alone in the world.

There is generation gap between not only parents and children but children and their grandparents. When children are young it is easy for parents, grandparents and grandchildren to connect but as the child gets older and their interests change sometimes it’s not as easy for the grandparents and sometimes parents connect about similar likes any longer. Having a common team that family members share can help bridge that gap. It’s even ok if there are different teams that the family supports because everyone can still get together and watch the game and sometimes being on opposite sides adds a bit more excitement. When everyone gets together for dinner or special occasions a conversation about what is going on with your or their team could be started. Those conversations could eventually lead to conversations of other topics and you could begin to learn more about each other and have a deeper connection which will make everyone feel emotionally happy which then leads to both good mental and physical health.

Most men have always been taught not to show their emotions because it deems them not manly. Of course logically and rationally we all know that is far from being true but still it is a stigma that has stuck with men for generations. Fandom for men allows them a safe place to express emotions such as crying, great joy or show signs of affection. How many times have we witnessed a fan of a team who just won a championship game so overcome with emotion that they cry? We have witnessed the burliest of man break down and sob at either the loss of their team’s game or the winning of the game. It’s not only the emotion of crying that being part of a sports team allows a man to express but it also allows them to show affection that maybe during other times of the day they would feel inhibited to show. They are not just a part of something when they choose a team to be a fan of. To them it is who they are when they are a fan of a team. The ability to be able to show such emotion is very cathartic which again is very mentally and ultimately physically healthy.

Finally there is the feeling of success when being a fan of a team that is winning. Success in real life can be difficult. Sometimes feeling successful, even it is vicariously through a team, is good for everyone. There are times when being a fan of a team within the city or state we live can make us feel successful. When the team is doing well or makes it to the championship game the vibe around that city or state is one unity and success. When your team is succeeding everyone feels as if they are succeeding. Even being a fan of a team that is succeeding that is outside the city you live can make you feel successful. We know it is not us who are making the team successful but knowing we picked that team to be a fan of and that team is successful can only make us feel like we are successful. The endorphins released into our bodies because of that feeling of success can do nothing other than help boost our mental well being which can only have a positive effect on or physical well being as well.

Leave a Reply