Posted in Psychology

My Bracket Anxiety

It is once again that time of the year:
NCAA Tournament Bracket Time.

And so my anxiety begins to set in.

Will I pick the overall winner?

Will I win my group or be the most loosing entry?

Will I hate me and my bracket by Thursday Evening?

Why anxiety? Simple: I don’t want to look like or even be a “confirmed” LOOSER. My bracket is a vehicle to praise and high fives in my group, at work, at home. It can also be the reason people laugh and joke at my expense and poor hoop I.Q.

I can RESEARCH and make SMART CHOICES during the creation of my backet so my success and/or failure is ON ME. Oh, the pressure.

The real problem and driver of my anxiety is the reality that bracket creation and winning require LUCK and some smarts, such as setting your expectation set correctly. So, if I really want to find mental wellness and balance during this time of the year, I need to do two things:

First, Acknowledge and Accept that luck plays apart in my success or failure. There are many factors outside of my control that impact the ultimate outcome of the many games that will be contested thus the most likely reason my bracket is busted is because of something I could not control. I am good. Yet I am not God or Superman or some maniacal puppet master.

Second, Acknowledge and Accept that I get to set my expectation bar for this tournament and so any anxiety I experience is based on THAT and not my bracket and its performance. I need to focus on my “dreams” or “aspirations” for this tournament.

If I imagine that I will be the “darling” of my bracket group then I have set the bar high and there is a ton of pressure on me. I must rise to the situation, have luck on my side and research up to the first tip of the first four games on Tuesday,

If I imagine that I will be the worst bracket in the group then I have set the bar low that if I do suck, no big whoop, and if I win, small fanfare.

If I set the bar in the middle, have fun picking my upsets and winners and know that luck will play a hand, then I probably will have fun and enjoy the experience. I may take some ribbing, yet I will manage. I may get some high fives and “way to gos” and I will enjoy that as well.

Choose fun. Set your expectations in the right place. Manage your anxiety and disappointments like a man.


Counselor, Satirist, Podcaster, Author, Professor, Speaker, Father and Husband

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s