Qatar 2022: How do soccer results affect fans' mental health?

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

11:37 | Lima, Nov. 22.

Soccer generates different sensations in fans, and the Qatar 2022 World Cup is no exception as it provides an opportunity for people to express their identity, sense of belonging, empathy, solidarity, joy, but also sadness and frustration, which cause ups or downs in mental health.

"This sport serves as a space for personal projection because it motivates us, evokes moments of glory in our memory, and generates expectations of good results," explained Mauro Ceron, coordinator of the Psychology Program at Universidad Privada del Norte.

According to the expert, playing soccer or other sports enhances the body and mind, since exercising regularly can prevent the occurrence of some disorders such as anxiety and depression. 

However, Ceron underscored that watching a soccer game can positively affect mental health as well.

"Sports encourage discipline, unity, and the ability to regulate emotions in human beings, in addition to generating a set of hormones such as oxytocin that, added to the other benefits, prepares us for a healthy emotional state," he told Andina news agency.

Details of some benefits that soccer brings to mental and emotional health of spectators can be found below:

Stress reduction 

If you are part of the audience, watching a soccer match can reduce your stress levels because each play is experienced intensely, which helps channel and regulate emotions at the end of each match.

Memory and concentration

During the 90 minutes of the match, the brain concentrates only on the performance of the team. This disconnects us from and relieves us of our worries.

Likewise, this visual activity allows us to use our memory and to exchange knowledge with other fans, thus improving mental agility.

Release of happiness hormones

When we enjoy a soccer game, happiness hormones are released, such as endorphins, which produce a feeling of well-being and can help reduce pain, in the case of people with illnesses.

Generation of dopamine

When our favorite team scores a goal, we feel as if we did it ourselves. This synchronization can stimulate the secretion of dopamine, a substance that causes pleasure and relaxation in the body. 

Mood improvement  

During a soccer championship, emotions of happiness and joy are generated among the spectators, thus increasing emotional well-being.


Published: 11/22/2022
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