Dr. Deb’s Mental Health Vitamin: Have a game plan!
By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
This Sunday is Super Bowl 53! For many, that is a circle-the-date-on-the-calendar, set-a-countdown-on-your-phone event. For others, it’s … well, just another Sunday.
Regardless of where you are on that spectrum of “what’s important” and “what’s not,” the life lessons that abound from sports are plentiful and rich with meaning.
Isn’t it only fitting that this Vitamin is also full of football lingo? YOU are the quarterback, YOU are driving toward your goals, YOU are trying to score … let’s see if we can make some first downs as we use football jargon to tackle some of life’s challenges with our mental acumen and toughness:
- Blitz! Have you felt as if the world is throwing everything at you at once? Have you wondered when there will be some relief? I believe there is not one of us with a heartbeat who hasn’t felt blitzed at times. If so, we must learn to tighten our chinstraps, stay true to the game plan and keep fighting!
- Fumble! During the tough times, do you sense that you are about to lose your grip and fumble the opportunity? If so, there are two choices: fall on the ball to reclaim your charge, or give up the “ball” and turn it over to the other team. We will have times when the “ball” is slippery, but we must keep striving and solidify our grip!
- Flea flicker! Sometimes we must resort to a “trick play” to make yardage. What a great way to overpower the defense! When an obstacle in life is particularly challenging, dig into your basket of offensive schemes and choose the flea flicker pass! It most likely will be a novel way of overcoming problems by completely catching the defense off-guard.
- Juke! And to ward off those pesky naysayers and dream-stealers in your life, merely “fake out” the opposing obstacle! When they get comfortable with you going in one direction, change directions at the last second and score!
- And, of course, always watch out for your blind side! While you are marching toward your goals, there might be a negative influence or deterrent that creeps into the picture without being obvious. It could disrupt your scoring attempt, so be aware of your blind side and scramble away from it!
- Always be aware of any opportunity by keeping your “filter” open and clean! If you see the opportunity, merely scoop and score! Sometimes our successes are because we see and take advantage of any opportunity that arises, even when it is unexpected. A good quarterback always is able to make adjustments!
- Flag on the play! Uh oh! Sometimes even during our best efforts, a mental error causes a slight delay or penalty. The antidote? Get back to the line of scrimmage and call for the long pass!
- Focus on the fundamentals – blocking and tackling! Sometimes we can get ahead of ourselves and resort to the latest media/entertainment/celebrity ideas of what our goals should be. NO! We must return to the fundamentals, get back on track and scramble toward the goal!
- On the other hand, sometimes it’s important to call an audible! If what we’re doing is simply not working, if an obstacle appears that we were not prepared for, then we simply must change course. Don’t give up or give in … rather, find an alternate “play” that will get you where you want to be!
So, if you’re a football fanatic, you may find yourself in the easy chair rooting for either the New England Patriots or the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Or you may find yourself lazing away the day doing what you ordinarily do on a nice Sunday afternoon.
At any rate, be prepared to always strive, pursue and achieve … and then, with reckless abandon, celebrate and dance in the end zone!