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What does getting competitive/angry during the superbowl do to your mental health?


Dr. Gayani DeSilva MD



Gayani DeSilva is a Child Adolescent Psychiatrist with 20 years experience. She is the author of A Psychiatrists Guide: Helping Parents Reach Their Depressed Tween, and A Psychiatrists Guide: Stop Teen Addiction Before It Starts.

Reactions to the Superbowl run the gamut from apathy to elation to disappointment to anger. It’s similar to how a person reacts to any situation where they are not in control, but are vested to the outcome. Except, reactions to the superbowl seem to be exaggerated and beyond the day to day anger or disappointment.


Getting angry, and allowing oneself to get carried away with that anger during the Superbowl can cause one to feel out of control, hopeless, ineffectual, anxious and apathetic.  For some, the mere experience of feeling that heightened anger gives them a feeling of entitlement.  This entitlement can lead to urges to displace their anger onto someone else--such as in the case of being violent towards their loved ones.  

It is well known that the incidence of domestic violence drastically increases during the Superbowl.  Further fueled by alcohol, this exaggerated anger can lead to devastating behaviors in intimate relationships.

The question of how does one’s mental health affect the way they express their feelings disappointment and anger is also important.  The Superbowl is an event that where it is socially acceptable to get out of control with our feelings about situations that are out of our control. One team’s fans will feel vindicated and the other team’s fans will feel defeated. Both sides are socially allowed to express their extreme feelings in extreme ways.

For those who typically struggle with behaving in safe ways when angry or disappointed, they may feel they have a pass to behave in cruel, violating, aggressive ways.  

Before the game, remind yourself that it’s just a game, and there will be more games in the weeks and years to follow

If you find yourself getting angry, take a deep breath.  Count to 6 on each inhale and to 6 on each exhale.  Do this a few times.

Leave the room for a few minutes--give yourself a break when you start to feel yourself getting stressed or angry.  Go pet the dog, or get a breath of fresh air.

Help your spouse out in the kitchen.  Set a tray of hor d’ouvres. Do a different activity that involves being social and connected to others.

Keep things in perspective.

During the game, limit your alcohol consumption.  Alcohol is a depressant, and lowers inhibitions and alters judgement. Being intoxicated increases your risk of harming yourself and others.

Watch the game with friends.  Tell jokes, laugh, and say appreciative words to each other.  Have fun.

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