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The 4 benefits of sports psychology in psychological well-being

The 4 benefits of sports psychology in psychological well-being

May 16, 2024

Sport and the psychological variables that influence it improving or worsening its performance has been a subject of great interest during the last decades. All this, framed within the discovery and development of positive psychology, has led different researchers to consider what factors are closely related to psychological well-being in athletes and what are their benefits.

In this article we will review the benefits that sports practice brings to psychological well-being together with the team UPAD Psychology and Coaching , one of the best centers of sports psychology in the Community of Madrid and our country.

  • Related article: "What is Sports Psychology? Know the secrets of a growing discipline"

Exercise and its effects on the mind

Positive psychology aims to integrate all those concepts related to well-being, happiness and the most optimistic approaches of the human mind to boost personal development , among other things. It is within this current that the concept of psychological well-being takes shape.

Psychological well-being is a set of variables that encompass different aspects of our life and the degree of satisfaction with them. Terms like Self-acceptance, Positive Relationships, Autonomy, Domain of Environment, Purpose in Life and Personal growth are some concepts that take great importance in personal well-being.

In this line, different studies show that people perceive themselves as reasonably happy regardless of their age and their sex or culture, valuing in a very similar way the sources of happiness. Feeling happy is more adaptive when facing and overcoming adversities that arise throughout life.

In sports, research focused on finding the relationship between sports and psychological well-being are becoming increasingly popular. At early ages, such as adolescence, where it is very important to generate healthy habits of life, among which sport is found, results have been obtained that contribute to reinforce the importance of adopting these active lifestyles , since these are positively related to different factors that increase psychological well-being, such as self-assessment, health perception and overall life satisfaction.

The result of this type of studies leads us to affirm that psychological well-being is associated with the practice of physical activity . Among other aspects, people who regularly perform physical exercise perceive themselves as healthier, with less stress and have a better state of mind than those who do not perform any type of physical activity.

The effect of sport on psychological well-being

The most popular variables that are closely related between sport and psychological well-being are: cognition, coping, positive affect and self-efficacy, and it is that those people who perform sport tend to have better results in all of them.

Below each one of them is explained more carefully:

1. Cognition

The way we have to see and understand the world, the ideas, thoughts and beliefs we have about us and everything that surrounds us is closely related to our well-being. Through sport at an early age the child's intellectual development can be enhanced and it is even proven that performing very brief but intense physical exercises presents an improvement in their mental abilities such as attention.

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2. Coping

It is demonstrated that those people with high psychological well-being use coping strategies oriented towards the problem and emotion versus those that show low well-being, which have a more passive coping mode and focus on avoidance. All this has to do with the role we take when facing a situation or problem.

We have two options: to assume our responsibility in the situation and to improve everything that is in our hands or to flee from the problem, to hold everyone responsible and to succeed. From both options we will obtain a very valuable learning that can improve or hinder our standard of living giving us more or less capacity for decision and autonomy.

  • Related article: "Coping strategies: what are they and how can they help us?"

3. Positive affect

The quality of our personal relationships will be a determining factor in our assessment of life satisfaction.Sport, and more specifically that which takes place in teams, fosters the construction of a wider social environment in which share emotions, thoughts and sensations especially in stages of development, where the social circle is of vital importance.

4. Self-efficacy

It is defined as beliefs in one's capacity to organize and execute the required actions and to handle future situations. If we believe that we can reach an objective, we will find the resources to achieve it.

Sports psychology is a promising field

The new fields of psychology in which positive psychology is found are contributing new visions and lines of research in different fields. Within sport, in the last decades the use of concepts related to positive emotions , resilience and ultimately positive perception of events, at first sight negative (such as an injury), from which to obtain a personal experience to learn and to help us obtain the desired well-being.

Obtain and maintain psychological well-being Through the reinterpretation of situations, positive assessments and generation of emotions that favor it is one of the functions of sports psychology at this time.

If you are looking to optimize your levels of personal well-being through sport you can find more information on the UPAD Psychology and Coaching website where you will find great professionals in Sports Psychology.

Sport psychology - inside the mind of champion athletes: Martin Hagger at TEDxPerth (May 2024).

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