March mindfulness: Staying calm amidst the madness

Published 4:29 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 13, 2024) – March is here and the madness has started. This month isn’t just stressful for players and coaches. As fans, our excitement and dedication make us feel like we’re on the court.

March Madness is supposed to be fun, why am I stressed out? As much as we look forward to this time of the year, sports have a way of bringing out our competitive side. The pressure for our team to win or fear of having a losing bracket can sometimes be too much.

Stress can present itself in many different ways. Some classic stress symptoms to look out for are difficulty sleeping, inability to focus, lack of energy and change in appetite. Excessive alcohol consumption can exacerbate these symptoms.

Ways you can reduce stress:

  • Healthy diet. Well balanced meals and snacks keep our bodies feeling good.
  • Exercise. Find a way to get your body moving, it could be as simple as taking a midday walk or going to your favorite workout class.
  • Limit screen time. We’re all guilty of getting home from work and immediately scrolling on our phones. Finding a different outlet for our time, like reading a book, is a great way to help our minds calm down.
  • Mindfulness. Whether it be taking a few deep breaths at your desk or waking up every morning and meditating, any kind of mindfulness is beneficial.

How to practice mindfulness during the big game. Sporting events and high emotional situations can affect your overall health. Stress is a huge factor during these situations and there are ways to be mindful to reduce those levels. Deep breathing and walking can help reduce stress.

How stress effects heart health. In the last 5 to 10 years, there has been an increased number of heart attacks in people under the age of 40. Stress is a major contributor to overall heart health, high blood pressure and risk of diabetes.

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes (about 2 and a half hours) of exercise a week and to maintain a balanced diet. If you are having abnormal symptoms and have a family history of poor heart health, you should contact your primary care provider.

Make sure to exercise before a big game and eat normally. It is also recommended to have basic CPR training in case you are in a situation where someone is having a heart problem. If you find yourself to be a bystander in this situation, call 911 immediately.

— The University of Kentucky Public Relations & Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week’s column is by UK HealthCare.