Forme Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool star Luis garcia has backed up FIFA‘s #Reach out campaign for mental well-being.
Garcia, who won 20 international matches for Spain, spoke from personal experiences as he joined the effort to promote the importance of taking care of your mental health and being prepared to talk about it.
While speaking as a former football player, GarciaWords about taking care of your mental health that you would do with your physical health are universally applicable.
“Little by little, I realized the importance of mental well-being and of always trying to think good and positive thoughts,” Garcia told FIFA.com.
“It’s about trying to speak and get relief from some of them [negative] thoughts you may have or things that happened to you that day.
“It’s also about sharing them with someone who can give you the tools to deal with those kinds of situations the next time they arise.”
Garcia used a psychologist throughout his career
After playing for some of the biggest clubs on the planet, as well as at a World Cup, Garcia knows what success looks like, but he also knows all about the pressures footballers face and talked about the importance of seeing a psychologist during his career.
“I used to suffer a lot during games. My coach at the time, Rafa Benitezwas very loud, [so I heard him a lot] when I played on the wing. And as I have said many times before, Jamie Carragher was always in my case and told me not to drop the ball … “said Garcia.
“Even if you do not want them to, such things end up affecting you. At the end of the game, you may feel frustrated and uncomfortable, then go home and ponder all the things you did not do well.
“[My sports psychologist] helped to divide and put such situations and thoughts aside. I learned to let go of them and focus on the things I needed to, which was the next piece. “
Fortunately, talking about mental health becomes less taboo, but it remains a difficult topic for many – therefore #Reach out campaign – and in Garcia‘s play days it was even harder to talk about such things. After reaping the positive benefits of opening up, the 2005 Champions League winner is eager to encourage others to take the same positive steps.
“In my time, it was not very common to go and talk to [teammates about psychologists], “said Garcia.
“If a teammate appears sad, stops making jokes or maybe stops going to team meals, then you know something is not right. However, situations like this are not easy to handle. The person concerned can be very reluctant. with opening up or talking about it.
“I had been in the situation where you do not feel comfortable with anything and would like to talk to someone about it. When I had the opportunity to talk to the sports psychologist and it went very well, I started sharing my experience. So I have tried to help teammates and reach out to them so they go and talk to someone who can help them with anything they are worried about. “
Garcia and FIFA seek to help others
After helping themselves and those around them, Garcia is completely behind FIFA‘s #Reach out campaign in an effort to help even more people recognize the importance of mental health and feel empowered to talk about it.
In a football context, Garcia is particularly concerned about the well – being of young people and is wary of the pressure they themselves and their surroundings put on young players.
“You have to help them as they embark on their careers. Some no longer have their feet on the ground and think they have made it,” he said. Garcia, emphasizes the importance for athletes to never get too high or too low, but always focused on the next goal.
“We need to alleviate some of the pressure that young people experience, that which comes from wanting to be or should be a [professional] player.
“There’s the pressure they put on themselves as well as from family and friends. It doesn’t help their development or their ability to enjoy their football, which is the most important thing.”
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