Astros' World Series games got you stressed? You're not the only one

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

HOUSTON - As the Astros get ready for Game 7 of the World Series against the Dodgers, many fans are experiencing high stress levels.

The worst is yet to come.

Legendary former Astros pitcher Larry Dierker and Dr. Asim Shah with Baylor College of Medicine have some tips to help keep calm after the postseason storm.

Q: Feeling nervous before the big game?

A: You're not the only one. Game day stress is a real thing, according to medical professionals. Many people suffer from stress and anxiety before major sporting events like the World Series or Super Bowl.

Stress can affect your dopamine levels, sleeping habits, eating happens and more. And it works both ways.

"If we win, that causes a lot of increase in self-esteem. Why [does] that happen? What happens is during a game, if your team is winning there's a lot of excitement and that causes increase in testosterone levels which in turn causes an increase in dopamine levels, which in turn stimulates your reward center, and which in turn causes you to increase your self-esteem," said Shah.

Q: Can stressing out during or after big games affect your weight?

A: Yes! Stress eating exists. Studies were done examining sports fans.

"If your team loses, you're going to end up eating more unhealthy food," Shah said.

Shah calls it "comfort food." Our bodies seek foods that bring some type of stress relief, which generally tend to be higher caloric, fatty, foods.

Q: What makes games stressful for fans who don't have to play?

A: Dierker said he was most stressed out when he felt there was nothing he could do.

"You can't hit the ball, throw the ball ... you can't steal a base -- you can't do anything but just watch. You have to depend on the players -- so fans are in the same position," said Dierker. "You can't do anything just watch and it's excruciating."

Sometimes the unknown and significance of a game can people from functioning.

"Can I concentrate on what I'm working on today? No! Because I'm shaking all over," said super fan Lou Ann Phillips.

Q: What can you do if they lose?

A: Prioritize coping methods. Doctors recommend that you try your best to minimize the blow of bad news by preparing for it ahead of time.

"The coping mechanism for losing is that you have to understand that this is a game. So, first, we have to be proud that we have gone this far ... You don't need to be undermining your team," said Shah. "A lot of times people start blaming people as to why they lost. You need to give credit that they have gone this far. The second thing is you have to be loyal to your team -- no matter what happens."

He also recommends that people avoid overeating, any use of drugs or alcohol, and avoid getting into arguments with people.

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