What is Sports Psychology and Could You Benefit?

What is Sports Psychology? 

Sports Psychology is the use of psychological knowledge and skills to encourage optimal performance and well-being of athletes. It also addresses the developmental, social, and systemic components of sports and the organizations, coaches, and players involved.

How do you know if you need one? 

  • Is your performance suffering?
  • Do you have negative thoughts about your skills or mental toughness?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed with balancing life and sport?
  • Do you lose focus easily or struggle to cope with pressure?

Or… Are you…

  • Looking to develop your mental skills?
  • Improve your grit and self-confidence?
  • Enhance your optimal performance level?
  • Increase your concentration and ability to deal with adversity?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these then a sports therapist is for you! We help both struggling athletes to improve and successful athletes to increase their performance by utilizing psychological techniques and proficiencies.  Whole Health Psychological Center’s Intern Lauren Clem specializes in Sports Psychology!

Here are a few links about Sports Psychology and therapists and their impact on athletes of all ages:

A Growing Demand for Sport Psychologists
Inside the Mind of Champion Athletes
Sports Psych for Young Athletes 

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7 Ways to Deepen Your Intimate Connection With Your Partner By: Danielle Graves, M.A.

Have you ever experienced a strong attraction (good chemistry) towards your
partner but felt like the intimacy and connection were lacking? Maybe you’re
wondering why you are feeling unfulfilled in your relationship and if there is
something more that can be done. There could be a few possible reasons for this.

Let’s think about relationships like tending a garden. They need a certain level of de-
weeding, and fertilizing to grow, not to mention consistent sunlight and watering. You
can only imagine what the garden would look like if left alone.

There are certain plants that need more attention than others, and when the
responsibility for tending the garden is shared to align with the strengths of each person,
it will surely continue to thrive.

Like tending a garden, the best relationships happen when both partners invest their
time and energy into growing the relationship and are open to adapting when
necessary. Then it becomes an experience that both of partners co-create; it becomes
an experience done together.

In order for you to experience a deeper, more intimate connection with your partner,
attraction and affection need to be present. Having one instead of the other can almost
determine the longevity of a relationship. Attraction is based on the sexual and romantic
desire that brought you two together. Affection is the fondness and care that keeps you
together. If attraction were the type of flowers you have growing in your garden, then
affection is the tending and fertilizer.

Once that is established, there are many ways that you can enhance the intimate
connection in your relationship. Intimacy can be divided up into categories such as
sexual, emotional, romantic, intellectual, and so on. Decide what is important for each
person and build on that. Whether you’ve been seeing someone new and are still
getting to know each other on a deeper level, or if you are with a long-term partner(s)
and looking to re-ignite the spark, the following suggestions will surely lead to a stronger
bond.

1. Open and Honest Communication to Build Trust
Communication is the key to all the categories of intimacy, and self-reflection is crucial
because it reveals your desires so that you can better communicate them.

First, explore what it is you believe you need in order to feel a deeper connection with
your partner and then learn how to voice that to them. Give them the space to voice
their needs and desires as well.

For example, when reflecting on sexual intimacy, if what you are craving is more
foreplay, more cuddles, more pillow talk, etc. then being able to communicate that to
your partner is essential. Sometimes communication can be difficult, especially in newer
relationships. If you find that to be the case, consider using a card game inspired for
opening up more intimate conversations in a fun way. I came across this card game
called ‘Connect’ and it is designed to be played by couples to discuss topics that truly
matter and which foster connection and closeness. You can purchase your own deck
online or use some of these prompts from the deck as thought-starters.
● What I really admire about you is…
● When appreciative friends discuss us, what do you think they might celebrate in
us?
● How would you like to come back together again at the end of every day?
● The trick to understanding why I can sometimes be difficult is to remember that…

For those of you whose partner(s) is a bit of a mystery, this game will give them the
opportunity to share more about themselves. If they don’t like the idea then try the other
methods for connection first.

2. Speak each other’s ‘Love Languages’

Gary Chapman who authored the book “The 5 Love Languages” came up with five
general ways that romantic partners express and experience love. Oftentimes we
assume that our partner wants to receive love in the same way that we do, and this can
lead to frustration and disappointment when your kind gestures are not as deeply
appreciated. The 5 ways we experience love are through Words of Affirmation, Acts
of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
If your partner’s love language is quality time but you are too busy working and keep
buying them expensive gifts instead, they aren’t going to be satisfied in the long-term.

3. Kiss More &  Kiss for Longer

Recreate those passionate movie kisses to build attraction and connection. A 2013
study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior reported that frequent kissing is correlated with
a couple’s perception of the quality of their relationship and specifically, the more
kissing there is, the higher levels of happiness that is reported. However, kissing can
start fading the longer a relationship goes. One study found that 1 in 5 couples don’t
even kiss at all. So, try not to forget the most powerful kissing moments you had at the
start of your relationship and make kissing a regular part of your relationship.

Kissing is commonly the first event that often takes place before engaging in other
sexual activity. It helps you decide your sexual compatibility and desire for this person
before sex and gives you both more time to build up that sexual anticipation. Be mindful
of why you kiss though because kissing that is done in order to initiate sex does not
always turn out favorably when one partner is not in the mood and would prefer to
connect in other ways. Kissing throughout the day and during sex is a sign of affection.

4. Explore sensuality without the goal of orgasm

To continue on the topic of sexual intimacy, take your time exploring each other’s
bodies and fantasies without orgasm being the only goal. By taking your time, you will
learn to appreciate each other more on both an emotional and physical level. Going
back to my gardening example, flowers need time to grow before they blossom. Enjoy
every moment of growth that brings you closer to reaching the full potential of the
relationship and your connection.

Good communication will come in handy when discussing what ways you like to engage
in foreplay and what ways don’t get you as turned on. Here are some ideas you can
incorporate into your next enhanced foreplay session:
● Try giving each other full body oil massages
● Introduce some fantasies through role play
● Experience physical closeness through cuddling and talking in the place you
most associate with sexual intimacy, without the intention of doing more.

6. Seek Advice from a Couple’s or Sex Therapist

There may be deeper rooted issues that keep us blocked from deepening our
connection and receiving counseling can reveal our own (or our partner’s) fears of
intimacy or more fully understand what is going on.

7. Form New Relationship Habits

To conclude, my final suggestion is to use all this advice to develop new habits in your
relationship. If you don’t like the way things have been flowing, then changing a few
behaviors might just improve the whole pattern.
For example, instead of jumping out of bed to take a shower immediately after sex, lay
there for a while and enjoy the afterglow together. Talk about what you enjoyed the
most from the experience to keep it lasting longer. Develop a shared morning or
evening ritual that allows you to expand upon the type of intimacy or affection you need
most.

This article was intended to reveal some of the many ways that you can use to improve
your relationship. Be creative and try what works best for you and your partner(s) while
seeking outside guidance from a therapist who specializes in sex and relationships, if
you feel stuck.

 

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Amazing Tips To Reduce Holiday Stress

6 Tips To Reduce Holiday Stress

While the holiday season can be the happiest time of the year, it can also be one of the most stressful.

Tips To Reduce Holiday Stress.Between hunting down your gift checklist, cooking, cleaning, decorating, hosting guests, reuniting with

family and friends–it’s understandable why some of us go from holiday cheery to downright dreary.

In fact, it’s not entirely uncommon to experience depression during the holidays. According to the American Psychological Association, 44 percent of women deal with an increase in stress this time of year; men are not far behind, surveyed at 33 percent.

Don’t settle on being a Scrooge by forgoing the holiday season – you’ll only feel more like one. Instead, take a look at some of these tips to keep holiday stress down and your spirit up.

  1. Create a budget. Not only are the lines at the mall enough to induce stress, but gift spending can get very expensive, leading to added anxiety over money, or worse, debt. Set limits on how much you’d like to spend on each person, and stick to your budget. It’ll give you financial and personal peace of mind without the pressure to go overboard. In addition, remember that there are many way to show you care or to make someone feel special. You can be thoughtful and creative in your gift-giving, rather than just purchasing an expensive item. Think out of the box!
  2. Don’t overdo it. Do you ever go into people pleaser mode during the holidays and try to do more than you can handle? Spreading yourself too thin can lead to added stress. Take care of yourself, prioritize your responsibilities, and take care of important tasks first while seeing which ones can be done post-holiday. Remember what the holidays are really about and what is important. One hint–it is not how much money you spend!(Amazing Tips To Reduce Holiday Stress)
  3. Accept people for who they are and have realistic expectations. Going into that big family gathering with optimism is admirable, but don’t set your expectations too high: you can’t change anyone’s personality, and you may end up letting yourself down if conflicts, arguments or squabbles arise over the dinner table. Try to set boundaries with your family. Also accept that not everything is going to go smoothly (with family, friends, presents, or food) during the holidays, and that is ok.
  4. Be thankful and focus on what you do have. A variety of stressful feelings can arise during the holidays, and you might even feel envious or jealous over our neighbors’ or family members’ accomplishments or possessions, without feeling appreciation for our own. Take this as an opportunity to step back and feel gratitude for what you have – it’ll remove stressful feelings and create newer, healthier ones. Think of it as a jumpstart to your New Year’s resolution!(Amazing Tips To Reduce Holiday Stress)
  5. Remember to Take Care of Yourself! It’s easy to get caught up in doing too many things and being there for everyone else. But you will end up not being good for anyone if you don’t prioritize yourself and practice self-care. By taking some time to do things for yourself—i.e. take a bath, sit down and read a book you have been wanting to finish, get a massage—you will decrease stress and anxiety and be recharged so you accomplish your goals.
  6. Make a conscious choice to be joyful! While the holiday stress can build up, it is important that you take responsibility for your emotions and make a conscious choice to be joyful. You have the opportunity to make this year different than previous years by changing your mindset and reactions. It is almost guaranteed that if you change how you are showing up, others will have to make at least slight adjustments in their responses and reactions. While change can certainly be uncomfortable for some, others might surprise you and actually welcome the change!
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