As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May 2019) I’m going to share my dark experiences, how I used pool to help me through my personal struggles and improve my mental health – so that you can do the same.
Using sport, in this case 8-Ball Pool as an outlet is an effective way to boost your mental health by clearing your head and giving yourself some much needed down time from life’s stresses.
During 2016, I faced my toughest struggles to date. Whilst facing a life-threatening illness I was almost beaten mentally. I couldn’t leave the house, I battled anxiety every waking hour and each long day of my 6 month battle felt like an eternity. Nobody knew that I felt like I was at rock bottom. I knew that I had to push forward through the tough times to see brighter days ahead. So I used Pool as my escape. When I got on the table I managed to get lost in the game, it became my safe haven, often, for hours at a time. This is one of the reasons I love to help players get more enjoyment from the game.
Anything you enjoy doing can be therapeutic and relaxing. Any social activity such as pool is a great way to bring people together. The opportunity to bond with friends both old and new, which I briefly mentioned in Top 8 Reasons To Play Pool.
In a world where everything moves at the speed of light – take back some time for yourself. Time to relax your mind, and unwind. This is exactly how I used 8-ball Pool to get me through some of my darkest days.
Personally, I don’t like to dwell too much on the negative parts of life. I much prefer to focus on the positives. However, if we don’t give our problems any attention then they won’t be solved and we can’t move forward. Mental Health has been ignored for too long and now is the time for that to change. If this post helps just one person out there that is currently struggling – then it will have been worth posting.
Mental Health is a Killer
It’s well known that Suicide is the single biggest killer in males under 55 years old in the United Kingdom. As Men, We don’t talk about our problems, we try to protect the ones we love from everything as much as possible and we are often guilty of letting everything build up in our heads until we reach breaking point. We all spend too much of our lives worrying how everyone else sees us and what everyone else thinks. Alpha males always proving themselves to everyone around them. We are living to a set of unwritten rules that just don’t help us at all.
Coaching a competitive sport, I see this a on a regular basis. The majority of my clients want their visits to remain anonymous as they feel like it’s almost unacceptable to tell others they are having coaching for something they love to do. The main reason behind this is undoubtedly: “My team mates will all laugh and make jokes about me if they find out!”
Part of the reason is this is because as a group, Men feel more at ease laughing at one another than actually taking the time to actually support one another. Think about this the next time you spend time with your friends. Be aware that they may not feel they can talk to you and could be burying their problems. Try and encourage each other more. There is a community to help with this that I will link to at the end of this post.
Make Yourself Proud
In all honesty, working on yourself and being more successful in the things you choose to do with your life is something to be proud of. By taking action, you are having the courage to show up and improve; instead of standing still, stagnating and going backwards. The most important thing in life is to make yourself proud – starting today! If you can do this then those around you that are worthwhile will recognise your achievements and in turn be proud to know you.
I recently had a chat with the founder of a group that supports Male Mental Health. Craig Spillane started the Facebook group Men Unite to encourage men to open up and help each other through their worries and struggles. The group is an invaluable resource for Men in the UK. Somewhere where men speak freely, encourage and champion each other. The community is growing rapidly day by day and currently has almost 4,000 members and this means more men are joining together to help one another. So, if you’re interested you can find out more and join Men Unite here.
If anyone is struggling, you’re always welcome to send a confidential message to me as I’ll always do my best to help those in need. This offer is for my female and younger followers as well as the men. Whilst this post has been primarily focussed on the men, everyone’s mental health is equally important.
In this busy world, be kind to yourself and give yourself some time.
Hope this helps you raise your game,
THE POOL COACH🎱