Watching the World Cup will improve your health

The World Cup is in full swing, with countries taking to the soccer field for the title and, of course, bragging rights. This World Cup was anything but predictable. After Saudi Arabia defeated the mighty Argentina, the fans rioted National holiday If German fans were in disbelief after their loss to Japan, the day after their victory celebration. And in a major upset, Mexico made it out of the group for the first time since 1978.

Soccer fan or not, there’s no denying the excitement of seeing your country so close to gold. Not everyone can travel thousands of miles to this year’s games in Qatar, but psychologists say there’s good reason to do so. tune into the game. PopSci We asked experts about the top five health benefits of teamwork, even if you’re just on the couch.

[Related: All the ways you can tune in to the 2022 Soccer World Cup]

You feel less lonely

Humans are social creatures by nature. It is becoming global the most popular sport A great opportunity to connect with others and find community. Carrie WylandA social psychologist at Tulane University in New Orleans says there are 2 main reasons. The first reason is that supporting a team allows you to feel connected to something bigger than yourself. “Cheering on our favorite teams gives us a sense of who we are,” he explains. This social identity is based on the small groups you’ve formed or been associated with throughout your life. Weiland explains that when you are deeply connected to a group, your personal self becomes more whole and creates a deeper sense of connection with others.

The second reason is collective joy. Whether you’re watching with your family or you’re at a bar alone, when you witness an event like your team scoring a goal, your body experiences a heightened sense of happiness and excitement. “When we feel these positive feelings and share them with other people watching the game, it increases our emotions and allows us to experience more emotions.”

And this social bond is felt through the ups and downs of victory and defeat. If your team loses, you may be depressed for a few days, but there is a bright side to it. Weiland says that losing a game is still a shared experience, and when you grieve the loss together and figure out what went wrong, you can continue to bond more strongly with others in person, in group chats, or even on social media.

You have higher self-esteem

2019 study in the magazine Communication and sports Fans of winning sports teams reported higher self-esteem two days after the game. More research is needed to confirm this link, but Wyland said the increased self-esteem after watching the game may be due to psychological insights.rejoicing in the reflected glory.” Because you have a close relationship with this group, you associate someone else’s victory with your own. This can be seen in fans who cheer when their favorite musician wins a Grammy or when supporters of a political party get elected. In this case, the social identity of the football fan may make them feel part of the team. Therefore, when fans perform and support rituals such as wearing “lucky” socks, their support seems to help the team win.

You increase your life expectancy

Being happy is an indirect support that can help you live longer. But it depends on how it makes you happy. Are you glued to the couch and passively watching, or do you jump, get down, or wave your arms like a cheerleader? It’s not close to physical activity, but it’s important because small movements and gestures get your body moving.

[Related: How to work out for your mental health]

Socializing has positive effects on longevity. Social interaction—building friendships or being part of a community through sports—has long been associated with physical and mental health. Even fewer watch sports regularly symptoms of depressionpreviously associated with a 10-12 years the life expectancy of the elderly is shortened. When he has social support a reduced risk of premature death.

You relieve stress

Disappointment during the game helps you savor the moment, especially during celebrations, such as when Team USA’s Christian Pulisic scored the final goal against Iran to send his team into the knockout stages.

“Sports is a celebration of life, and you’re in the present, free from the regrets of the past and the worries of the future,” he explained. Eric Zillmer, neuropsychologist and former director of athletics at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Watching sports teams and celebrating provides a momentary escape from current reality. Zillmer said a game like soccer has rules and boundaries that are easy for people dealing with life’s unpredictable problems to digest and absorb. Sports bring people back to a simpler view of life: the triumphant comeback of an underdog or the fairytale moment of a superstar player leading his team to the finals.

“We know from mindfulness and yoga research that living in the present is very therapeutic for your health,” says Zillmer. “Sports make us feel alive, and it encourages us to find what we hope to find in ourselves.” Sport, he said, is about overcoming obstacles; If these challenges exist in sports, they can exist in real life.

[Related: The complex physics behind bending it like a World Cup player]

You are more motivated to exercise

Weiland said watching players scale the field and launch soccer balls into the air inspires kids to get out and play sports. Children may be energized after an exciting game and want to play outside and emulate their favorite players like Argentina’s Lionel Messi and France’s Kylian Mbappe.

Even adults can get in on the action by channeling the excitement of watching the World Cup into their next workout. Zillmer recommends pairing high-probability behaviors (things you like or enjoy doing) with low-probability behaviors (things you don’t want to do and can actively avoid). So if you’ve been meaning to exercise but just can’t seem to find the motivation to do it, think of your next session as a means to a reward. For example, if you have a good chance of watching the USA-Netherlands game (a high-probability behavior), then force yourself to do a less-probable behavior like walking down the block as a way to “apply.” find it.”

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