Mental Health Issues are Brain Health Issues

Parents, I have a question for you. Do you observe these in your child or teenage athlete no matter how loving, caring, and consistently helpful you try to be?

* Angry outbursts
* Tantrums
* Aggression
* Defiance - rebellion
* Never sitting still
* Emotional meltdowns
* Can’t pay attention
* Blaming

🛑 The source of the problem may be located in your athlete’s brain health. Hundreds of published research proves the main culprit of these issues are LIFESTYLE CHOICES which impact the way the brain operates. When your child’s brain is healthy, then he or she is healthy. When your child’s brain is not well, then their behavior and mental health is in trouble. The condition of the brain governs your athlete’s emotional state and physical activity.

Yes, this is a no brainer then. Brain health must be a priority.

🛑 Your athlete (and you for that matter) needs a ship-shape nutritional diet full of healthy ‘live’ foods to fuel the brain and body. The academic and athletic demands of your child require avoiding processes and enriched foods, fast food, energy drinks, and other sugary liquids. Please do not bring these items as ‘snacks’ after practice or games.

Their bodies require at least thirty-five different nutrient dense foods consisting of whole grains, lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and essential fats. The brain utilizes 25% of calories consumed, thus, it is extremely vital their regimen comprises of nutrient jam-packed items.

Their brain and body need to drink too. The body requires water hydration for survival. And it is the body’s primary chemical transport component making up 50-70% of body weight. Your athlete requires at least their body weight in ounces to a gallon/day depending on size, training, weight, and weather.

🛑 A growing athlete needs rest and recovery. Not sleeping remains a main culprit of mental health issues. When there is a lack of sleep, especially a chronic lack, kids are fatigued, cannot concentrate, irritable, low mood, and other mental disturbances. The brain and body demand sleep to go through a type of ‘dishwashing’ cycle enabling the ability to wake up refreshed and alert. Their growing body needs time to to go through this cycle.

Maintaining 7-10 hours of sleep each night leads to success in physical performance and mental and emotional management. How well does your child prepare for sleep? Essential keys to great sleep include:

  • Remove all electronics from a bedroom
  • NO TV’s or digital devices in the bedroom
  • Stop all digital input 30 minutes before shut eye
  • Use sound machines with white noise, ocean waves, or calming instrumental music
  • Make sure the room is a cool 66 to 68 degrees
  • Younger kids may fear the dark but black out curtains and a dark room are better for sleepingBonus Tip: Put a journal by their bedside for those late-night overthinking episodes. Writing down their thoughts is a quick release that leads to better sleep!

🛑 Connection also improves brain health. As your kids get older, their connection to you may change. But it remains vital to their brain health for you as a parent to be approachable and a safe place to talk about their struggles and fears as well as their joys and cheers. We are made to be in relationships with people not isolate or remain virtually linked.

The car ride home from practice or a competition is historically a time when you connect. Make sure it fuels your athlete rather than drains. Check out my blog post on 6 Tips for the Car Ride Home.

Kip Rodgers LPC-S

Kip Rodgers-BrainCodeParenting athletes is hard work. There's an entirely new and different set of dynamics at work. You have to be mom, dad, or mom and dad, coach, counselor, EMT, equipment manager, engineer, and seamstress all before dinner! You're not alone and maybe, just maybe, we can help each other navigate this never-ending path to glory. Hey, what's your biggest challenge with your athlete?

Baseball Player

Wanna Meet With Kip?

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid phone number.
Please enter a message.

Leave a Comment