Mental Health – the only way is through

2020 has been a challenging year for many people globally. We have had to express collective grief as well as adjust to the new normal, at home and at work.

One of the things that helped many people stay positive, motivated and in good spirits was sports and home exercises. This is how we managed to pull together through the pain and the effects of the pandemic.

During those difficult days last year, Under Armour launched their new brand anthem, The Only Way Is Through. ‘’Through the pain, through uncertainty, through the darker days. Now it’s time for a deep dive into what makes us tick in the pinnacle performance arena,’’ explains the Under Armour team.

While South Africa may have eased the lockdown restrictions and we have tried to make the new normal work, the effects on the pandemic on our mental health can not be denied.

A national survey conducted by pharmaceutical firm Pharma Dynamics showed 56 percent of people in South Africa now have higher levels of psychological and emotional distress than before the outbreak of Covid-19. Under Armour has launched The Only Way Is Through: Under Armour Mental Strength as their positive contribution to give us a lift.

“For too long the gravity of mental vigour has been put on the backburner as a key element in athletic performance. We push our bodies, train them for peak performance, rest, and repeat. We believed that one could experience success through the relentless training of the body. But this narrative couldn’t be further from the truth and if 2020 taught us nothing else, it showed us that the strength of the mind surmounts all else in the path to success. The year that was, illuminated not only what can happen when we hone our thoughts and mental durability, but how inner strength and learning to calm the mind can be the difference between first and second place, focused front runners or a broken spirit,” says Under Armour.

Elite athletes are encouraged to develop their mental toughness at a young age and make it second nature. The mind and body are connected, so it’s essential to learn and develop skills that optimise both. For pinnacle athletes it has become important to remember that failure equals growth and that the mentally tough have learned to fail, and they have learned how to get back up, and go again.

Michael Phelps – Under Armour Global Athlete, American Olympic Swimmer and Gold Medallist says: “It was always about the goals, and I didn’t reach them by just training my body but training my mindClose your eyes, visualise all the ways you could breakthrough. Then, imagine everything that could go wrong: A false start, a bad turn, broken goggles. Now picture yourself staying calm and overcoming every obstacle”.

Anthony Joshua – Under Armour global athlete WBA, IBF and WBO World Heavyweight Champion says “focus on what’s around you, never letting the moment get too big. When that bell sounds, nerves are nowhere to be found. Confidence is half the battle when breaking through, so protect it.”