Can you train your emotion like it was a muscle?

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In professional sports (and some amateur ones) athletes undergo strict training regimes in order to improve their on-field performance.

This will vary at different times of the season and will increase depending on how successful the team or individual is – the more successful you are, the more training you do.

On average an athlete might train 3-4 hours a day, 4 times a week, working towards a game or event at the weekend.

Those sessions might be broken down into a mix of the following:
– fitness
– tactics and game strategy
– skills development
– statistics analysis
– competition analysis

On top of that there is nutritional advice and support along with some sports psychology and science – for those who believe and for those who don’t.

A recent soccer match lasted a little over 100 minutes.

Today the average GAA match lasts 78 minutes.

All the training and rehearsal is geared up for those minutes but when you break the actual time down it becomes apparent that time with the actual ball might be only 5-10 minutes, which in itself endorsees the theory that sport is about moments and margins.

Which brings into question, what does the player do for the remainder of game time?

The great ones will stay in the zone for the duration.

The others, they get distracted.

Those distractions come in all shape and sizes – anxieties, worries, regrets, fears. They all wear different hats and combine with devasting effect on confidence, performance and well-being.

Moving away from the sports arena into work or home life, those distractions are ever-present and come without the benefit of coaches and supportive sports psychologists.

In those more common environments – work and at home – how do you protect yourself from these persistent attacks?

Art and creativity has been widely recognised as a perfect weapon to help combat the on-going struggle for mental well-being. It sits alongside exercise, sunlight, mediation and good company, amongst others as solid defences for our emotional well-being.

It might feel less likely to those of us who were told from an early age that we couldn’t paint or those who have simply never tried before.

Art and creativity are not just frivolous pastimes – they are essential tools for nurturing mental well-being. Engaging in artistic activities provides a unique avenue for self-expression, catharsis, and stress relief. Whether it’s painting, sculpting, or even doodling, the act of creating art stimulates the release of dopamine –the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitter – leading to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.

Moreover, art promotes mindfulness and relaxation, offering a respite from the demands of the daily grind.

Research in psychology supports these observations.

A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that engaging in creative activities leads to an increase in positive emotions and a decrease in negative emotions.

Another study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine revealed that participating in art-based interventions significantly reduced stress levels among employees.

For more information on how art and creativity can help emotional well-being – at home or at work, leave a comment below or message Geralyn Mulqueen