Fairness

The impact of fairness (or perceived unfairness) on our performances in life. How can we cope with unfair situations with more ease?

Why do we react so much to unfair situations? Elite athletes can control many of the elements in their lives. They know that if they train well, eat properly and surround themselves with supportive people like a good coach, they increase their chances to reach their goals. But then comes the uncontrollable element. You know you had this perfect serve but a judge of line calls it out. You saw it and it was PERFECT! What happens in your brain at this very specific moment? All this hard work that you have put in during the last months can be reduced to nothing in no time. You need to know the chemistry behind this reaction otherwise it will be a personal problem. I AM TREATED UNFAIRLY! How can you recover as quickly as possible and come back to your internal balance.

Fairness has deep roots in our brain. As almost everything in us, it has a meaning from an evolutionary point of view. We come from a world where there were no bank accounts and no fridges. In good times, when our family/group was luckier than others, we would share our surpluses with other families/groups. When we were unlucky, in bad times we would hope that they would return the favor. It was a question of life and death. We very quickly learned to identify unfair situations and unfair people that don’t reciprocate. Life has changed but the brain has not changed that much. The brain still reacts deeply to unfair situations.

The connections existing between the Prefrontal cortex (the executive center of the brain, the decision maker) and the amygdala (the fear and anxiety center of the brain) have to be numerous to go through any unfair situation in life. Mindfulness meditation will increase the connectivity existing between the Prefrontal Cortex and the Amygdala. In other words mindfulness meditation gives us control over irrational anger.  Any athlete who wants to recover from an unfair call will need to be mindful and also need to know why they are reacting that way. NEVER TAKE UNFAIRNESS PERSONALLY, IT IS CHEMICAL!

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