Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Don’t worry, Olympics withdrawal symptoms will fade

Is missing the Olympics a genuine condition of the mind?

There’s no doubt the epic action captured the imagination of the nation. Many of us got caught up in the trials and tribulations of sports you usually wouldn’t dream of watching for hours on end.

We felt the joy of every medal and the pain for those who missed out on the podium. And now that it’s over, we miss it.

Clinical psychologist Dr Michael Paterson, who works with TMR Health Professionals in Belfast, said watching an event such as the Olympics on television can alter the state of mind of spectators as well.

The good news is that we’ll get over the sense of loss, he added.

“When we experience wonderful moments and see gold being won, we have changes in our physiology,” he said.

“Our heart rate increases and we feel the excitement and the thrill that the people in the crowd experience.

“We experience empathy with the athletes as well.

“It means that our state has changed.”

Dr Paterson said that now the Olympics are over, the mind will go back to its normal daily state.

“Our state shifts back to pre-Olympic,” he added.

“The way to initiate the pleasurable state is to remember the wins or rewatch them on the internet.

“What that does is activate the memory as it was stored at the time and the feelings of pleasure felt.”

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