Support dogs takeover to boost mental health of Tokyo Olympics bound athletes

In contrast to all previous Olympic editions, the upcoming Games in Tokyo will present a completely different picture. Much has happened in the world in the last year and we have succeeded in changing life as we know it. The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has only made matters worse by bringing a new challenge to an already stressful world.

In an IG TV video shared by the Olympic Games’ official Instagram handle, Brazilian skateboarding athletes Leticia Bufoni and Dashawn Jordan of California shared their mental health issues ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. To help tackle these daily mental health battles, Allianz created the Allianz Support Dog Squad to help build the much-needed trust and motivation among athletes.

Like Bufoni and Jordan, players around the world had to negotiate tough terms to actually win a spot at the Tokyo Games – while some made the cut, others lost in vain. The pandemic brought life to a standstill and put the world under a lockdown – new words like “quarantine”, “work from home” were added to the dictionary while tournaments were canceled – one at a time in 2020-21 as that Virus in attack waves.

Since the players didn’t have the usual perks of a pre-COVID world, they had to train in isolation or with a limited number of members on their team to earn the Tokyo ticket. No wonder these athletes’ mental health falls by the wayside, as fighting your inner demons on your own can get particularly lonely.

How do pets empower us emotionally?

Perhaps the discussion about mental health and its importance has now increased more than ever in the sporting fraternity, with players like four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka being one of their strongest spokespersons.

Even before the pandemic existed, mental health concerns were mounting, with depression and anxiety being the main tormentors. With COVID-19, these problems have only gotten worse and worse, making daily life difficult.

To counter this, Allianz has developed the concept of a Support Dog Squad to reduce anxiety, increase well-being and eliminate judgment, and build the confidence of athletes preparing for the Tokyo Olympics.

It is unimaginable how easy a friendly ‘woof!’ and a quick wagging of the tail or a dog licking can calm us down and bring peace. As noted on the John Hopkins Medicine website, “Research has shown that just petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol, while social interaction between humans and their dogs actually increases levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin (the same hormone that binds mothers). increased for babies). “

Playing a very important role in raising morale and keeping negative and pressing thoughts at bay, the company of a pet or especially a dog can work like magic and lift your spirits. “A 2011 study found that pet owners had better self-esteem. Another study found that pets provide greater social support than humans in relieving depression, ”according to the John Hopkins website.

This wonderful initiative was badly needed and simply shows how pets can indeed be the best of friends for any human being, and help them out of their troubles by being offered to them with lots of healthy love!