The World Cup is well under way in Brazil – and for England fans the tension is growing.
For Roy Hodgson’s team, today’s match against Uruguay has become a must-win game after disappointment at the hands of Italy.
All the pre-tournament talk of low-expectations has disappeared and supporters have become obsessed with Wayne Rooney’s best position, who should be in the starting XI, and whether star South American striker Luis Suarez will be fit to face the Three Lions.
So how can fans reduce their stress levels and actually enjoy, rather than endure, the feast of football?
Dr Manaan Kar-Ray is clinical director of acute care at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) – the county’s mental health provider – and has devised the following four World Cup top tips.
If you get invited to a World Cup party or watch a game with family, friends or neighbours, then go.
We can all feel lonely at times which can lead to feeling of isolation and depression, but football can bring us all together.
So if the chance is there to mix with people, take it.
Has Roy Hodgson picked the wrong side? Has the defence gone awol again? Referee out of his depth?
Take a moment, count to 10 and focus on your breathing.
This is a technique called Mindfulness, which will help you remain calm and in control.
Our staff and service-users do this every morning so they are better able to tackle the day’s challenges – or the sight of a foreign striker doing ten roly-polys after barely being touched.
Here for the beer
For many supporters, it’s one of life’s great pleasures to have a drink during a game.
I’m not going to say don’t drink, but we all need to be aware how much it can change our mood – and not always for the better.
The links between alcohol, reckless behaviour and poor judgement are well documented. And poor judgement is best left to players, managers and referees.
Kick off time
Inspired by what they’ve already seen, there are youngsters everywhere pretending to be Neymar, Ronaldo and Sterling.
Why should that stop when we’re adults? Get out of the house and go and have a kickabout. The benefits of exercise on people’s mental health are incredible.
They think it’s all over
Here’s the reality – at some point England’s participation in the tournament will end.
Either in glorious success at the Maracanã on July 13 or, and the evidence suggests this is much more likely, in glorious failure after penalties in the quarter-finals.
Martin Luther King once said, “we must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope”. Acceptance and hope are both vital for our mental health, and so is the knowledge that England will be better at the European Championships in France in 2016.