Simone Biles left the women’s team final at the Tokyo Olympics this week and announced that she will not participate in the singles final. It speaks of anxiety, lack of self-confidence, lack of fun and the presence of demons inside your head. And because you value your mental health, you made this decision.
As other great athletes have done in the past, here is another example of a red flag indicating the impact of negative stress (from ourselves and the world around us) and perfection on general well-being and in mental health in particular. .
Like Simon, we are all human. With strengths, weaknesses, capabilities, limitations, desires and fears. We all make mistakes, we all feel more unpleasant emotions, and we all have behaviors that can be better modified. But are we all fully aware of the warning signals our bodies and minds send out? Do we read and appreciate it correctly? Or do we just ignore them, sit under the rug and move on as if it were nothing, thinking things are getting better just because they’re doing it?
The first step is to recognize that mental health is just as important as physical health. A giant move, given the way psychological suffering is still understated, is seen as a sign of weakness or incompetence.
Simone took the next step, too, when she woke up to another closely related topic: the entertainment dimension. Fun and enjoyment, along with a sense of efficiency and mastery, are antidepressants and anxiolytics. And yes, we all, even adults, need to feel pleasure and it is important that we can organize our daily lives so that this dimension is present. It is not a luxury or a whim, but a necessity and a right.
As much as we are resilient, and in this sense we are able to adapt positively to negative or stressful experiences, despite the challenges that may arise, there are times or circumstances when we may have more difficulty in activating all of our resources, whether internal or external. Flexibility is not an innate and immovable property, so it can change over the course of various life transitions or only appear in certain dimensions of an individual’s life. It is a dynamic process that results from the interaction between a person and the environment, and therefore, it is natural and expected that we are not always able to deal with situations in the most modified way.
We can all learn from Simone, allowing us to stop and look inward. What am I thinking? What do I feel? what should I do? What warning signs am I identifying? Is it time to stop? to change something? Or even seek professional help?
Let’s take a tour of this media situation and get the best out of it. The learning and thinking feature that helps us look at ourselves. Do we focus on our mental health?
Clinical and Forensic Psychologist and Family and Couples Therapist
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