Sports psychology techniques can help anyone achieve goals
AS A Health Professions Council-registered sport and exercise psychologist, my primary goal when working with sportsmen and sportswomen is to maximise their psychological wellbeing.
This may come as a surprise to some people, who may think the role of a sports psychologist is to maximise sporting performance.
Generally, if psychologists can enhance how a person feels, such as reducing negative emotions and encouraging positive emotions in an individual, such as happiness or excitement, then performance usually improves as a consequence.
In my latest book, Focused For Rugby, I have written about a number of techniques that people can use to enhance their own psychological wellbeing.
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The title of the book indicates that only rugby players would benefit from applying the techniques, but the different strategies listed in the book could be of benefit to all people in their everyday lives.
For example, there is a chapter on how people can learn how to cope more effectively with stress.
Whether you are a professional rugby league player, a teacher, or an electrician, if you experience stress, the techniques in that chapter could help you reduce your stress levels.
Managing stress is a three-stage process, which involves identifying your source of worries and deciding whether you are able to control the "stressor" (stage one).
Some sources of stress are within our control, such as how we perform at work, but stressors such as going to the dentist or what will happen when we board a plane are not within our control.
Different types of strategies should be used depending on whether you can control the stressor or not (stage two), but it is important to target different coping strategies (for example, imagining yourself coping in a situation, deep breathing, or time management strategies) towards different stressors.
Stage three involves seeking support from those close to you.
However, it is important to seek social support from the right people.
You can share emotional worries with people who are sympathetic, but seek support from others for work-related problems.
Those who have experience in your field of work will be able to provide work-related advice.
I think that in all walks of life, psychological health is something that is under-valued with little attention and resources in organisations, sports clubs, and education dedicated to improving emotional wellbeing.