How Football Sundays Can Affect Mental Health

Ladies and gentleman, it is now football season and with all of the screaming, hollering and cheering that goes on when rooting for a favorite team, you may have never realized how watching your favorite football players play on the field can actually have an impact on your mental health and body.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But have you ever noticed when a football game is on, your family or significant other gets a bit rowdy if their team is either winning or losing?

Football is one of the most loved and celebrated sports in the world. And, on Super Bowl weekend, when you invite over your closest friends and family to come together to support their favorite team, sometimes what was meant for a nice family gathering turns into a battlefield where the family is split between the two opposing teams and more often than not, you will see a side of them that you will only catch when they’re watching a football game.

So what does this all mean? And, what makes people react in such a manner when a football game is on?

How Watching a Football Game Affects Your Brain and Body?

You have probably noticed how your friends or family get a bit wild when watching a football game. You may have even found yourself unexpectedly vocal and at times using vulgar language or even throwing objects at the TV when you’re watching football.

It’s OK, we’ve all been there and it’s actually not your fault. So what is going on in your brain that causes you to act this way when you’re watching football?

Below are some of the things your brain and body go through when a football game is on.

Mirror Neurons in Your Brain Make You Feel Like You’re Really Apart of the Team

When we watch a football game, we tend to associate and personalize ourselves with our favorite team. Have you ever heard someone refer to the team as “we” when they’re talking about their favorite team?

According to a clinical director and professional counselor, David Ezell, the reason why some of us do this is because of the presence of mirror neurons in our minds give us the ability to put ourselves in the position of our favorite team, which explains why we either get sad or happy from the outcome of the game.

Your Mood Changes

If you’re a fan of a particular team, you either feel happy or sad depending on if your team wins or loses and most of the time these feelings aren’t controllable. When your favorite team wins, your brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is responsible for happiness and the reward centers of the brain. When your team loses, cortisol is released, which is the hormone responsible for feelings of despair and distress.

Your Body Reacts to How Your Brain Feels

Have you ever noticed how some people start to sweat profusely while watching a football game? The brain has a massive impact on your body. When you’re watching a game, you tend to experience anxiety over which team would lose and this feeling of anxiety could increase your blood pressure and your heart rate increases to the same point it does when you’re participating in a vigorous workout.

Now that you know how your body will react during a football match. If you happen to find yourself acting uncontrollably as a result of the football game, take some time out to think. You will soon realize that there are bigger things to worry about than your favorite team losing.

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Impacts of Watching Football on Your Brain and Body. (2018, April 24). Retrieved from