“All fantasy football managers know that the results of their fantasy team can have an impact on their mental health.”
Fantasy Premier League (FPL) is more than just a game for millions of football fans worldwide. It’s a platform for strategic thinking, decision-making, and community building. However, like any other form of engagement, it can have a significant impact on mental health.
This article explores the dual nature of FPL’s impact on mental health, highlighting both the positive and negative aspects and providing tips, on how to keep your mental health in good condition when your FPL team is not getting the results you wanted.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional mental health advice. The strategies and tips provided are based on general observations and should not replace professional guidance. If you are experiencing mental health issues, please seek help from a qualified mental health professional.
The Positive Impact of FPL on Mental Health
Fantasy Football can have several positive impacts on mental health, including:
- Joy and Excitement: The thrill of strategizing, making decisions, and seeing your team perform well can be immensely satisfying.
- Community and Camaraderie: FPL fosters a sense of community among players. It provides opportunities for interaction, discussion, and friendly competition, which can enhance social connectedness and provide a sense of belonging. Platforms like Twitter and Reddit are vibrant hubs where enthusiasts converge to discuss fantasy football.
- Cognitive Stimulation: The game requires strategic thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills, which can be mentally stimulating and rewarding. It encourages players to stay updated with football news, analyze player performances, and predict future outcomes, keeping the mind active and engaged.
- Enhanced Knowledge and Passion for Football: FPL can deepen the understanding and appreciation of football. It encourages players to follow matches closely, learn about different teams and players, and understand the intricacies of the sport. This can enhance the enjoyment of watching football and fuel passion for the game.
- Sense of Achievement: When your FPL team performs well, it can bring a sense of achievement. This can boost self-esteem and confidence, contributing to positive mental health.
- Distraction from Daily Stressors: FPL can serve as a form of escapism, providing a distraction from daily stressors and challenges. It can offer a fun and engaging way to unwind and relax.
- Development of Transferable Skills: The strategic thinking and decision-making skills developed through playing FPL can be transferable to other areas of life, such as work or personal challenges. This can contribute to personal growth and development.
The Negative Impact of FPL on Mental Health
Despite its benefits, FPL can also have negative implications for mental health. Here are some potential negative impacts:
- Stress and Anxiety: The competitive nature of the game can lead to stress and anxiety, especially when your fantasy football team is not performing well or when you’re falling behind in your leagues. The pressure to make the right decisions each week can also be a source of stress.
- Addictive Nature: FPL can be addictive, with players spending excessive amounts of time researching, strategizing, and checking scores. This can lead to neglect of other important areas of life, such as work, studies, or personal relationships.
- Impact on Self-Esteem and Social Status: Your performance in FPL can become tied to your self-esteem and social status, especially in social circles where FPL is highly valued. Poor performance can lead to feelings of inadequacy or embarrassment.
- Emotional Rollercoaster: The unpredictable nature of football can lead to an emotional rollercoaster, with highs when your team performs well and lows when they don’t. This can lead to emotional instability, especially for individuals who invest a lot of emotional energy into the game.
- Unhealthy Competition: While friendly competition can be fun and motivating, it can become unhealthy if it leads to negative emotions such as envy, resentment, or excessive rivalry.
- Over-reliance on Luck: Despite all the strategizing and planning, there’s a significant element of luck in FPL, which can be frustrating and demoralizing when things don’t go your way.
- Potential for Online Harassment or Bullying: Like any online community, there’s a potential for negative interactions in the FPL community, including harassment or bullying, which can negatively impact mental health.
12 Tips for Managing FPL-Related Stress and Anxiety
Managing the stress and anxiety associated with FPL is crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship with the game and ensuring it remains a source of enjoyment rather than distress. Here are some strategies to help manage FPL-related stress and anxiety:
1. Acknowledging the Impact of FPL on Mental Health
The first step towards managing FPL-related stress is acknowledging that the game can indeed impact your mental health. Recognizing that FPL can cause stress and anxiety, and that it’s just “a game”, can help you approach it with a healthier mindset. It’s okay to admit that a bad FPL week can ruin your weekend, but it’s also important to remember that it’s a temporary setback and not a reflection of your worth or abilities.
2. Avoid Setting Unrealistic Goals
While having goals can motivate you to perform better, setting unrealistic or overly ambitious goals can lead to disappointment and stress. It’s important to set achievable goals based on your knowledge, skills, and time commitment. Remember, even the best FPL managers can’t predict outcomes due to the unpredictable nature of football.
With the rising number of participants, the top 10k finish is getting more and more unrealistic goal with each season. There are just 10 000 spots available there… And there are more than 10 million FPL managers. Accept that achieving such a goal is very unlikely.
But if you do achieve it, take it as a welcomed bonus.
3. If necessary, Create a Distance from the Game
It’s easy to get caught up in the world of FPL, constantly checking scores, reading updates, and thinking about strategies. However, it’s important to create some distance from the game to prevent it from consuming all your time and energy.
One way to do this is by setting specific times to check scores and make decisions, and avoiding FPL-related activities outside these times. This can help you maintain a balance between FPL and other aspects of your life.
4. Enjoy the Football
At its core, FPL is about enjoying football. Try to appreciate the game beyond your FPL team. Enjoy the matches, appreciate good performances even from players not in your team, and remember why you love football in the first place.
5. Do Not Let Emotions Control You
It’s important to establish rules and strategies to maintain emotional stability. These practices promote emotional regulation and help prevent impulsive decisions driven by emotional states, contributing to better mental well-being.
This will also help you avoid rage transfers, rage activation of chips (or rage quitting the game), or any other rushed decisions you would regret later.
6. Have a System in Place
Just as investors like Ray Dalio have principles to guide their investment decisions, having a system or set of principles for FPL can help manage stress and anxiety. This could include rules about when to make transfers, how to select a captain, or how to respond to a bad gameweek.
Having a system can provide a sense of control and consistency, reducing the stress of decision-making and helping you stay grounded even when things don’t go as planned.
7. Limit Time Spent on Research and Preparation
While it’s important to be informed, spending excessive amounts of time on research, reading articles, listening to podcasts, and preparing your team can negatively impact your mental health. Try to set a limit on the time you spend on FPL each week. This not only reduces stress but also makes the time you do spend on FPL more focused and efficient.
8. Limit Time on Social Media
Social media can be a great source of information for FPL, but it can also be a source of negativity and can create a feeling of overwhelming. Seeing others’ successes, reading negative comments, or getting caught up in rumors and speculation can increase stress. Try to limit your time on social media and be selective about who you follow and what content you engage with.
9. Help Other FPL Managers
Helping others can be a great stress reliever. Share your knowledge and experience with other FPL managers, whether it’s through social media, forums, or in-person groups. Not only can this help others, but it can also give you a sense of purpose and community.
10. Go Outside and Enjoy Your Weekend with Friends, Family
It’s important to have a life outside FPL. Spend time with friends and family, engage in hobbies, exercise, and enjoy nature. This can provide a much-needed break from FPL and help you maintain a healthy balance in your life.
11. Accept the Reality, Do Not Get Fixed on Outcomes
In FPL, as in football, anything can happen. It’s important to accept that you can’t control everything and to focus instead on making the best decisions possible with the information you have. Once the deadline passes, try to let go and accept whatever happens.
Focus on your circle of influence, not your circle of concerns.
Finally, remember to have fun and laugh. Whether it’s laughing at your own mistakes, sharing a joke with your FPL friends, or simply enjoying the absurdity of football, laughter is a great stress reliever. So, no matter how your FPL team is doing, try to keep a sense of humor and enjoy the journey.
Fantasy Premier League, while an exciting and engaging platform for football enthusiasts, can have both positive and negative impacts on mental health. It can stimulate cognitive functions, foster a sense of community, and provide a sense of achievement. However, it can also lead to stress, anxiety, and an unhealthy obsession if not managed properly.
The key to enjoying FPL while maintaining good mental health lies in balance and perspective. It’s important to remember that FPL is a game meant to enhance your enjoyment of football, not detract from it. By setting realistic goals, limiting time spent on FPL activities, maintaining a life outside the game, and adopting strategies to manage stress and emotions, you can ensure that FPL remains a fun and rewarding part of your life.
Remember, it’s okay to take a step back, laugh, and remind yourself that it’s just a game. After all, the world of football is unpredictable, and that’s what makes it, and FPL, so exciting.