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Pressures in life impacting mental health of athletes and everyday people

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 11:39 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - In recent days, athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka have spoken out about their mental health.

Living a life as an athlete can come with many pressures.

“For me personally, I feel a lot of the pressure outside of the gym by making sure I am doing enough and meeting everyone’s expectations,” said Maddie Dukart, a gymnast at American Gold Gymnastics.

Dukart and a fellow gymnast, who has competed against some of the best across the nation, say carrying that burden of pleasing others takes a toll on their mental health.

“It’s like almost tearing yourself down because you’re so worried about what everyone else thinks rather than focusing on just yourself,” said Halle Gregoire.

Athletes aren’t the only ones dealing with the stress and pressures of life.

“We have three children. We have pressures of mortgages, educations, and children demands,” said David Buchsbaum, who is visiting Fargo with his wife.

A psychologist from Sanford says it’s very typical for people to turn those pressures into a battle with their mental health.

“It’s very common for people to have some negative thoughts that enter their mind and fears of failure,” said Dr. Jon Ulven.

How do most people deal with the stress of everyday life?

Some people say it’s best to find an outlet like exercising, but others say it’s about not being too hard on yourself.

“You’re human. We all fall. It’s not about the fall, but how we get up and how we keep going,” said Leslie McManus, who is visiting Fargo with her husband David Buchsbaum.

Experts say it’s about recognizing how the pressure is impacting your mental health.

One tip to better cope with stress could be as simple as having a strong support system.

“Social support is such an important part of how we handle pressure by being able to have people to share our struggles with and sometimes even the physical intimacy of just a hug,” said Ulven.

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