Suppressing Emotions Decreases Performance

Release Emotions to Perform Better

If you want to win, you have to release your emotions. It was proven that bottling up emotions results in poorer performance in endurance sports.

Expressing emotions is healthy, and makes you feel and perform better.

According to a recent study, burying emotions makes athletes less willing or less able to commit maximum effort.

Sportspeople often need to control their feelings in the run-up to competition, but this appears to considerably reduce the level at which they perform. Their thought processes are diminished, they put in less effort and they feel more exhausted than when they aren’t asked to hide what they’re feeling.

For the study, researchers monitored 20 cyclists who were asked to watch a video that showed a woman throwing up and then eating her own vomit. It was chosen to provoke feelings of disgust.

One group were told to suppress any feelings. A second group weren’t instructed to suppress their reactions. And third group didn’t watch the video at all. All three then cycled 10km.

Those who had suppressed their feelings were less able to think clearly. They were slower at biking, had a lower heart rate and thought they had worked much harder than they really had.

The research obliged the athletes to join all three groups, and discovered no differences between participants that watched the video without being instructed to suppress their emotion and those that didn’t watch the video.

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Written by Jenny Nickelson

Jenny Nickelson has been a sports enthusiast since childhood. Because of her deep love to water, she started training swimming in early years. Today she swears on variety and does it all: from swimming, running and cycling to fitness, skiing, dancing and mountaineering.


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