Seahawks psychologist Dr. Michael Gervais on making the most of grief

Feb 3, 2020, 1:53 PM
sports psychologist, gervais...
Michael Gervais speaks at the roundtable panel during HISTORY's Live Event 'Evel Live' at Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace on July 8, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for HISTORY)
(Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for HISTORY)

Most human beings would say the hardest experience to undergo in life is grief. Unfortunately, it is also an experience that is inevitable at one point or another.

But there is good news, according to Dr. Michael Gervais, the renowned sports psychologist who works with the Seattle Seahawks, founded mindset-training business Compete to Create with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, and creates the podcast “Finding Mastery.”

“On a humanistic, humanity level, we all touch grief, and grief is a challenging and complicated and difficult part of the human experience,” Gervais told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

It’s something that every single person dreads and struggles with, he said. But, times of mourning don’t have to bring only darkness — positives can come out of these experiences as well.

Seahawks sports psychologist Michael Gervais on competition and philosophy

“If there is a silver lining, it is that through this very difficult moment in time, we are connected and we are reminded of the fragility of life,” he said. “And through that fragility of life, the hope is that we will pay attention to how to live more connected to what matters most.”

Gervais pointed out that a study at Harvard University found that people who were more fulfilled did not shy away from life’s difficult questions, but instead reflected on them. These questions include complex ideas such as, “What am I doing with my life?” or, “What matters most to me in life?”

Unsurprisingly, the thing that matters most to people tends to be connections with the ones they love. Therefore, after suffering a loss, people usually come together with friends and family, especially when they are connected through mutual grief. They put extra focus toward seizing the day and making the most out of quality time spent with loved ones.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to say, ‘How am I going to better organize my life?'” Gervais said. “Let’s not just watch and feel pain, but how does this create a better version of oneself to be more deeply connected to what matters most?”

The hope is that the emotion can lead to a behavior. So the next time you find yourself worrying about death, don’t shy away from the emotions — instead, take it as a golden opportunity to arrange a quality night out with family.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Seahawks psychologist Dr. Michael Gervais on making the most of grief