Mental health is much more spoken aboutnow than a few years ago. In many performance settings, we realise that mentalwell-being and performance come hand in hand.
Personally, I have struggled with mental well-being often
resulting in burnout or sickness from trying to achieve everything. Every
athlete I work with we focus on maximising performance, well-being and personal
growth. The tools we use are life skills that you can use in training, work and
The English Institute of Sport (EIS) have also created ‘ProjectThrive’ for Tokyo Olympics which highlights the need for a balance betweenwell-being and performance (https://www.eis2win.co.uk/expertise/psychology/).
The government has also recognised the growing concern of mental health in sport as the rise of depression, anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders during and after sport has risen. The government has stated that all elite sports must have a clear mental health plan in place by 2024.
It is great to see progress being made in provide all-round support for athletes; but what does this mean for Muay Thai?
Given some of the demands of Muay Thai; such as:
- Stress of balancing work/family and intense fight training
- Injury rates
- Physical impact from fighting
- Anxiety before fights
- Extreme weight cuts and dieting
- More costs than income forfights (for some athletes)
These will all impact our mental well-being.
These demands are similar to other elite sports that are
receiving government funding, just that they have more strategies in place to
support athlete’s mentally better; such as sport psychologists, lifestyle
advisors, mental health training. If they don’t have that yet, they will by
So what can we do for Muay Thai?
Talking about it.
I recently did an interview with ‘Win from Within’ (@winfromwithin.co) where we highlight that every athlete goes through a mental journey before stepping into the ring; for some it is more challenging than for others.
However, talking about our struggles essentially is what makes us humans because we all struggle at times.
Mental health is not black and white– Sometimes we have low mood, feel rubbish, no energy, feel anxious or lack motivation that doesn’t make us mentally unwell but it is a sign that we need to do something for our well-being.
If you feel you are struggling speak to someone; your coach,training partner, sport psychologist, friends, or family- Getting your thoughts out in the open already reduces the power they have over you. I’m not saying it will be easy to talk to someone, but the reward it could have for you is worth it.
Connection is so important for well-being, the more we talk the more we will realise how we all have had similar experiences and that we are not alone with these thoughts and feelings.
@lena.a.k – If you have any ideas on how to support mental well-being in Muay Thai send me a DM.