How to Cheer on Your Team (Without Making Yourself Crazy)

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There’s nothing quite like the thrill of victory when your team wins. But what about the agony of defeat? It turns out that the stress of losing outweighs the joy of winning. But we know the secret to being a healthy, happy sports fan. Read on to find out!

Scientific Breakthrough?

A research team in the UK discovered that soccer (or football, if you prefer) fans experience bigger drops in happiness when their team loses than what they gain after a win. The used data from the Mappiness iPhoto app, which asks users to check in several times a day with updates about their current mood and status.

The researchers were able to sift through this data to find soccer fans and correlated their moods with game times and scores.

Their conclusion? Sports makes people miserable.

Gaming the System

Some fans would argue that the trick is to root for teams that will almost certainly win. The Yankees, for example, are a low-stress team to support. But the research team found that this strategy doesn’t hold out in the long run.

The happiness gains from seeing a dominant team win isn’t as big, and the bummer factor is much bigger if they do happen to lose. So what’s a happy sports fan to do? There are 3 main ways to enjoy sports without getting stressed about it.

Pay Less Attention

Die-hard sports fans are more likely to feel stressed and unhappy when the game isn’t going their way. They have so much invested—not just money, but also time and energy—that it’s hard for them to walk away. But you can still love the game without needing to make it your primary hobby.

Don’t constantly check the scores on your phone. Watch fewer games, or at least skip the pre- and post-game shows. Spend less time talking about stats and more time just enjoying the actual sport.

Root for More Than One Team

No matter what sport you love, it’s healthier to root for a couple of teams than to put all your faith in just one. Teams have ups and downs. That’s the way it goes. If you have a “portfolio” of teams to cheer on, somebody will always be winning. You can also spread your love around by following a new sport to follow in the off-season.

Support Individual Players

This is probably the best of the 3 strategies. Instead of focusing on the team’s performance during a season, appreciate the heart and grit of a few great athletes. That way, even if they get traded in the future, you can continue to support them. It’s much more fun to cheer on your favorites than get bitter because they moved on, isn’t it?