Psychology Around the Net: August 13, 2016

The world is deep in the throes of the 2016 Summer Olympics, and while such competition has to bring a certain level of anxiety and stress to athletes, sports can help to improve both your body and your mind.

Of course, Olympic athletes face much more pressure than those of us who dabble in the occasional friendly tennis match, which is where professionals such as sports psychologists can help. Learn more about these mental health experts, as well as the latest on the mental health benefits of those who volunteer, how you can make performance anxiety work for you, a new non-medical approach to mental health care that’s gaining ground but leaving some psychiatrists skeptical, and more.

What Sports Psychologists Do for Olympic Athletes That Coaches Cant: No Olympic athlete makes it on his or her own. Sports psychologist Matthew Cunliffe talks about the important addition of sports psychologists to the lengthy list of people who help support athletes — especially in terms of helping athletes deal with what goes through their own minds.

An Alternative Form of Mental Health Care Gains a Foothold: A new, anti-mainstream, and significantly non-medical approach to mental health care that focuses heavily on holistic recovery instead of symptom treatment is gaining ground; however, some psychiatrists are skeptical, largely because of how life-changing medication is for many people with mental health problems, as well as the lack of much research on this new mental health care approach.

The Key to Fighting Imposter Syndrome: Ever find yourself surrounded by people who seem to have it all together an end up feeling as if you don’t measure up to them…that you’re actually an imposter? One way to combat this “imposter syndrome” is to take a leap of faith and realize that everyone is human — everyone experiences worries, insecurities, and other negative feelings to some degree.

Volunteering Later in Life Can Enhance Mental Health and Wellbeing: According to researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Birmingham, older individuals (particularly those “around the age of 40” and “up into old age,” defined as being 80 years old and older), can boost their mental health and wellbeing by volunteering, which provides a ” sense of purpose, particularly for those people who have lost their earnings, because regular volunteering helps contribute to the maintenance of social networks, and this is especially the case for older people who often live in isolation,” says Dr. Faiza Tabassum, Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Southampton.

The New Science of Embracing Performance Anxiety: By taking steps like developing a routine and working on body positions (such as your posture), you just might be able to turn your performance anxiety into an advantage.

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