stress in sport

Stress in Sport

The recent Olympic games in Tokyo shone a huge spotlight on stress in sport and the mental health of athletes. While we watch the amazing performance of gymnasts, swimmers, or tennis players, we can often forget that athletes are people too.  Even the most successful people in sport or business can suffer from what may seem like a stress related mental breakdown when it matters most. We look at what it takes to be a mentally strong athlete, how stress plays a factor, and herbal supplements that can help manage it.

Olympic Mental Training

Imagine you had four years to train for an exam, or a presentation. You practiced everyday for hours on end, often alone. As you got closer to the exam date, you hoped you stayed healthy and that your performance on practice exams would qualify you for exam day. On the exam day, you had one hour to represent 1,000 hours of practice and to be at your peak performance. This is the life of an Olympic athlete. Early mornings on the track of in the pool. Hours and hours on end of practice and practice and practice. Hoping you can be good enough to win the big events or stay healthy. All of this requires a strong will to get up every day, day after day. It’s not easy, and its not surprising that many suffer from performance anxiety when the spotlight is shining on them.

Nervous System Response to Stress in Sport

So, how does the nervous system respond to stress?  The truth is the response is no different than in a normal stressful situation. When your body experiences stress it produces a lot of cortisol, otherwise known as the “stress hormone”.  This is natural and the purpose of cortisol is to calm down the inflammation in the body. However, if you experience high levels of stress, this can lead to a condition called auto-stress, where the stress stays in the body even after the source is gone. For an athlete, who is continually under stress, this can be problematic, and lead to anxiety issues at the worst possible moment.

Stress in Sport Awareness

So, now we understand continual stress in sport can be an issue, what are the solutions?  First and foremost, the key is to be aware we all experience stress. The ability to talk about it and normalize it is helpful. It’s one of the reasons that famous athletes speaking out about mental health issues and stress is so powerful for the rest of us. There are no superhumans.  We all have a stress response system, that can go a bit haywire if not looked after properly. Awareness is the first step, and there are many other ways to help calm down our stress levels.

Herbal Store Stress Relief Products

At GreenBox, we sell many different herbal remedies which are reputed to help with stress. The biggest one getting attention right now is CBD. There are no clinical studies that confirm yet that CBD can ease stress, but there is enough anecdotal evidence out there to give it a try. CBD is also the only approved cannabinoid for use by professional and Olympic athletes.   It has the added benefit that it can help ease inflammation, so you can work out harder and more often. The easiest way to add this to your daily routine is through CBD capsules.

Another powerful plant extract is called 5-HTP. This is one of the building blocks your body needs to help produce more serotonin. This hormone helps keep your body in balance, and it also aids in managing the stress levels in your body. This is needed when your body experiences extreme levels of stress and gets a bit out of whack. Our top recommend here would be the Innermost Relax Capsules which contain 5-HTP, along with L-Theanine, which can help improve focus and sleep.