Who's happier; lottery winners or those that were paralizyed by a tragic accident? It's a no brainer right? Actually, you may be surprised that both have about the same level of happiness over a long period of time. This was an actual study done in the late 70s that showed how people naturally gravitate to a stable level of happiness over time no matter what positive or negative circumstances they have faced. Scientists call this the Hedonic Treadmill. So how does this relate to tennis? Let me show you!
Throughout a tennis match, you may agree that your level of happiness may look similar to this:
**Taken from positivepsychology.com
If you have looked at any articles on the Hedonic Treadmill, you will see a very similar graph. Meaning that a tennis match can feel a lot like a five year journey of your life. So why does this matter? The understanding of the Hedonic Treadmill will enable you to have more foresight to see that for every incredible point you play, there will be equal ones of bone-headed mistakes you wish you could take back. This intuition just might allow you to disengage from the past point immediately to remain focused on the present and how you will handle the next point. This level-headedness is what you see in all the top tennis pros. They do not stay too high or too low during their matches, thus keeping them focused on putting all of their energy into the present point.
People say that tennis is a game for life but I also like to say that it teaches us about life. Controlling your emotions during tough times is not easy but can be practiced in your matches. I would encourage you to read more into the Headonic Treadmill and how you can use the tips found on happiness in your match play. Not only will you get a better performance out of yourself, but you may just enjoy the match a bit more as well!
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