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Why Rooting for Your Team Makes Your Brain Feel Good

We’re all guilty of watching our favorite sports team and shouting out, “We won!” — when in fact, all “we” did was watch.

So why do we identify with our favorite teams so much that we ride an emotional roller coaster with them, especially during playoff time?

The reason is pretty fascinating: We have neurons in our brains that “play along” with the players, says clinical psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD.

“It’s pretty wild and it actually happens a little bit more in men, but we can actually go on the same hormonal ride that the players are going on with one important exception: We have absolutely no control in the outcome,” Dr. Bea says.

The stress of being a fan

Being a super fan tends to start when we are young, when parents or older siblings introduce us to the idea that the team representing our city is our team, which represents us.

“These players and these teams start to represent our heroes, which is our ego ideal — what we aspire to become. That gets trained into us,”  Dr. Bea says.

Sports gives us a surge of adrenaline and stress hormones, especially during playoff time. But because we really can’t influence the outcome of the game, the stress load can be quite taxing, Dr. Bea says.

A sense of belonging

On the positive side, however, following a sports team can give us a tremendous sense of belonging, even if it comes with a little bit of intensity, Dr. Bea says.

In fact, much of the enjoyment we get from watching our team can be traced to the feel-good chemical, dopamine. It’s the same reason people get a thrill from riding roller coasters.

Also, when we’re cheering on our team with family or friends, we might also experience the release of oxytocin, which is a chemical that helps creates feelings of bonding and compassion, Dr. Bea says.

“Those are the things that people really love and gravitate toward and when your team’s in the playoffs, here’s an opportunity to have that,” Dr. Bea says. “You can also get the opposite, though, which is all the stress chemicals, feeling down, a little panicked, so it’s a little bit of gambling with our brains.”

A win for fair-weather fans, too

The rewards reaped from the feel-good chemicals holds true even for the fair-weather fans — those who only start paying attention when a team starts winning.

“If you’re a casual fan or not much of a fan, but now your team and your region is represented in the playoffs, now there’s a chance to create really good brain chemistry. If we become a fan and get drenched with those rewarding brain chemicals, we also can get into the collective sense of belonging and victory. And that’s not a bad thing,” Dr. Bea says.

We gravitate to the home team because we want to be part of something, but it’s important to keep it all in perspective, Dr. Bea says.

Remember: It won’t be too devastating if your team loses, and it won’t be life-changing if they win.

SOURCE: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/10/why-rooting-for-your-team-makes-your-brain-feel-good/


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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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