Emotional Well-Being

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Written by:  Doc Savarese                                         Cartoon by:  Peter Copen

What we have in common during this pandemic is stress and anxiety.  It’s been quite a challenge as we attempt to fathom our funding resources along with obtaining household food and cleaning products, while trying not to become hysterical about the uncertain future.  Recently a pickleball friend told me that he finally decided to call a psychologist and told him that he was constantly anxious, and wanted to know what to do.  The psychologist told him that he was obsessive/compulsive.  He said that he was so shocked that he called back 10 times to make sure the psychologist was certain.

Emotions such as anxiety and stress are common in situations such as we are experiencing.  However, when it is ongoing and intense, the consequences can result in increased heartrate, restlessness, disturbed sleep, and poor concentration.  This causes a chemical release of cortisol which produces physical symptoms in the body such as headaches, sweating, dizziness and muscle tension.  

I have observed that most members of the pickleball club have learned tried and true coping mechanisms.  During these trying times, it is important to recognize that our lives are very disrupted and that many of our coping mechanisms may not work.  Subsequently, adding new ones can be very beneficial.  Which reminds me:  why do horses have a better sense of well-being than humans?  It’s due to their stable environment.

Living in the present is considered by many experts to be an excellent coping mechanism for well-being.  Staying in the present tense has long been known to reduce anxiety and stress. One of the best strategies for staying in the present is “mapping out”, which means following a plan of obtainable actions for a week or even the next day.  Recently I ran into a fellow pickleball player as she was leaving the court.  I remarked how happy she looked.  She responded by saying that the shelter in place was good for her and that she was feeling better than ever.  She continued saying that the restrictions facilitated her commitment to improve her lifestyle by implementing a plan of action which included regular exercise routines, and modifying her eating and sleep habits.

Interpersonal communication is also a critical component for emotional well-being.  It’s been 4 months since we began dealing with the pandemic, which hopefully will end in the near future.  Even though most of us haven’t been going out much, technology and social media has provided us with multiple ways to connect and communicate.  Incidentally, zoom and streaming have become positive additions in my life.

There’s a stereotype that men who play pickleball are bad at showing their emotions.  This isn’t true.  I know a player who loves his wife so much, he almost told her.

People with a positive sense of well-being are more likely to live healthier and longer lives.  Following is a list of well-being characteristics which were identified by psychologist,  Dr. Ylenio Longo.  Reviewing the list can be beneficial to help you determine what might be missing in your life, and identifying where extra efforts are needed.

  • Happiness:  feeling happy and cheerful.
  • Vitality:  feeling full of energy.
  • Calmness:  feeling relaxed.
  • Optimism:  being hopeful.
  • Involvement:  feeling engaged.
  • Awareness:  being in touch with how you feel.
  • Acceptance:  accepting the way that you are.
  • Competence:  feeling highly effective.
  • Significance:  feeling that what you do is worthwhile.
  • Congruence:  what you do is consistent with how you feel.

New Player Orientation:  Arrangement can be made by contacting Pauly Uhr at 707-984-4186 or Nancy Lande at 707-978-2998 to schedule a session.


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