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Emotional stress from injury can lead to fatigue and depression

Some form of injury is common for athletes. Athletes need their body to perform, so if it’s not working at optimal level it can be anything from annoying to devastating. Even one week off can feel like forever. Many people experience sadness and disappointment with injury. It is important to acknowledge and express these feelings, but also keep focussed on the rehabilitation process and keep your goals realistic. 

Look for ways to make the most of this time:

  • Keep involved in regular training, doing modified exercises or watching
  • Continue to train mentally using imagery, so that you only have the physical ground to regain, not the mental

If your sadness or disappointment is overwhelming or ongoing, you may be suffering from symptoms of depression. Depression involves chemical changes in the brain which can have genetic causes, or be triggered by a significant event such as injury, or by ongoing stress. You may notice changes in mood, social interaction, motivation, sleeping, appetite, and thoughts. People report feeling “lost”, “in a dark hole” and like “no one could understand”. You don’t have to live with depression, so if you or someone you know is experiencing these feelings, it is important to seek help. Ask your GP for a Better Mental Health Plan and book an appointment with FOCUS Performance Psychology who understand the demands placed on athletes.


Even professional athletes can struggle with nerves. During stress, the brain releases adrenaline and other chemicals that prepare the body to act. As a result, you can encounter increased energy, alertness and excitement which is useful in short doses prior to performance. Sometimes people experience racing thoughts, pounding heart, breathlessness, jitters and other uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety. These physical changes and cognitive distractions can affect your performance.  

Many variables can contribute to an experience of anxiety, including:

  • personality traits
  • past experiences
  • comfort level
  • genetics

If any symptoms are too uncomfortable, or hinder performance you CAN make plans to work on it, just as you would your technical skills.   

Some people find breathing slowly from the abdomen, or doing some guided relaxation useful. Other people find benefit in identifying and exploring the little “worried voice” in their head. Challenging unhelpful thoughts with more helpful ones, or being organised with planning, routines and lists can assist. All these strategies need practice, and most people struggle to manage anxiety because they want a quick fix.

Because triggers and solutions can be highly individual, many people benefit from professional assistance and individually tailored management strategies. Book an appointment with FOCUS Performance Psychology to assist you to manage your anxiety.

Upcoming Group Sessions

FOCUS Performance Psychology facilitate sport specific mental skills training educational groups. Groups are educational, so will not address individual circumstances, but provide essential mental skills for developing athletes. Groups cover concentration, managing anxiety, utilising imagery and developing an effective inner voice. Additional groups are run based on interest. Register your interest on our contact page.

Feeling overwhelmed?

Being in the “spotlight” on TV, at work, at school and in relationships can be extremely rewarding. At times though it can feel overwhelming. If you are feeling confused or overwhelmed, talk to someone. You always have options and choices.

Contact us today at Performance Psychology – Click here

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