Believe it or not, there’s more to life than football.

Today I’m talking about student-athlete stress, and how to alleviate it.

Related: The Truth About Mental Preparation for Football – With Dr. Rob Bell

 

My Dedication to Real-Life Issues

The recent events with Jovan Belcher have really inspired me to talk more about real-life issues athletes face, so I’ve made a vow to myself to do so starting today.

Could this tragedy have been avoided if Jovan had dealt with his stress more effectively? (ICON Sports)

Note: I’m not trying to say that stress has anything to do with what transpired with that man.

I didn’t know him personally, but the talks surrounding the event have touched on stress and the amount of stress athletes face, and so I wanted to touch on the topic today.

 

Why Talk About Stress?

 

Whether it stems from a relationship, classwork, or something dealing with your sport, stress rears it’s ugly head often for student-athletes.

The best thing you can do is learn how to channel it, and deal with it effectively.

You can’t escape it, it’s a part of life.

Hell, I deal with stress myself.  And I’m far from perfect when it comes to dealing with it.

So to help you, as well as myself, I did a little research on dealing with stress.

I’m going to quickly share some of the lessons I think could help both you and I deal with stress better.

 

Why Is this Important?

 

Let’s be honest, man, we all know that stress isn’t good for us.

But I think that in order for us to make the decision to make a change, we have to really understand why it’s important to deal with stress properly.

Here’s just a sample of the ways stress can damage your life:

 

Illnesses

I read that a whopping “75 percent” of illnesses can often be related to stress in some way.

Who in their right mind wants to be sick?

Surely not I.

From body aches, to heart attacks, a lot of illnesses can be caused by stress, if it’s not dealt-with properly.

 

Accidents

I also read that as much as 50 percent of accidents, whether they’re car accidents, or accidents around the house, are due to stress in some shape, form, or fashion.

 

Damage to Relationships

Sometimes stress can cause us to say and do bad things to the people we love the most.

I have my days where I might be short with my wife due to a stressful day.

Like an idiot, I take it out on her, which of course pisses her off, which in turn makes me even more stressed.

My point, is that if we don’t deal with stress properly, we can create a domino affect of other problems and issues that will only intensify our stress!

Related: How to Deal With a Bad Coach that Yells All the Time

 

“But AG, What Does this Have to Do With Playing Pro?”

 

Great question.

You see, similar to discipline, the habit of dealing with stress is universal.

Once you can apply these techniques to your every day life, you can apply it to your sport (or vice versa).

Think about it.

How much better might you be able to play in crucial moments, in crucial games, (when the scouts are watching) on the field if you’re able to deal with stress more effectively?

OK, with that out of the way, let’s talk about what we can do to deal with stress more effectively.

Related: What Players Should Know About Chances of Making the NFL – w/ NFL Vet Roman Oben

 

Simple Ways to Deal With Stress

 

Arrive On-Time/Early

If you think about it, many of your most stressful moments happen when you’re rushing, or running late.

It takes discipline, but it’s crucial that you learn to stop whatever you’re doing, so that you can leave early enough to get to your destination on time, or (even better) “early”.

If you can master this one thing alone, you’ll save yourself from a ton of stress.

I promise you.

But you gotta be committed.

 

Alcohol, Nicotine, Caffeine Doesn’t Help

How many times have you been around someone that’s having a stressful moment, only to hear them say, “I need a square (cigarette),” or, “I need a drink?”

Well, from what I’ve read, nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol are “stimulants”, that actually intensify your stress, rather than minimize it.

To be honest, I’ve said “I need a beer” a time or two (or three or four) in my life when I’ve gotten a little stressed out.

But in actuality, it doesn’t do much good, because the problem is still there after that beer.

Now in the back of my mind, I know I’d be better off finding a more effective way to channel my stress, but hey, I’m human.

I honestly think we’re conditioned in our society to reach for some sort of stimulant when we experience stress, even though they’re useless.

But that’s another story for another day.

I gotta run, but click here for part two (when I type it up).

Question for you: What do you do to deal with stress?  I wanna hear from you in the comments below!

 

Follow me on Twitter! @alvingrier

Click here to connect with us on Facebook!

 

Web References:

37 Stress Management Tips (via Reader’s Digest – rd.com)
Stress can affect your health in many ways (via stress-explained.com)
Stress Management: How To Manage Stress | Coping With Stress (via laughsheal.com)
Stress at work and heart attack (via stress-explained.com)
Dealing with Stress | Ten Tips (via skillsyouneed.co.uk) 

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