We are all hoping we don't have to reach for our hankies this weekend.

But should the unthinkable happen, and the All Blacks and Team New Zealand lose in their hugely-anticipated sporting showdowns, we've got some tips on how to bury the heartache.

Fans of the All Blacks - who take on the touring British & Irish Lions tonight in the first test at Eden Park - and Team New Zealand - who face-off against Oracle tomorrow in the next two races of the America's Cup - have placed their teams as huge favourites to succeed.

But as Kiwi fans have found too often, big expectations often result in huge heartbreak.


Psychologist Karen Nimmo, who specialises in high performance sport, said Kiwis live on the "psychological edge" when it comes to sport. And in the event of things not going to plan, her advice to Kiwi fans was:

• Accept it.

• Share it. Vent your feelings with other fans because they will understand it.

• Keep busy and distracted with other activities because that will help you move forward.

• Stick to routines to avoid dwelling unnecessarily.

• And, perhaps most importantly, get some perspective.

"Our great passion for sports and our heroes is part of who we are, and that's great, but the flip side is our cultural identity rides on outcome," she said of the sporting obsession many of us have.

"That's dangerous because sport is loaded with ups and downs. When we win it's party time but when it all goes wrong we can hurt more and for longer than is healthy."

Nimmo said those of us who allowed sporting failure impact on work or relationships required a "reboot" on priorities.

University of Waikato philosophy lecturer and co-editor of the International Journal of Well-Being, Dr Dan Weijers, said certain personality types succumb to the blues more easily than others when their beloved team loses.

Weijers said mental flexibility was important for dealing with defeat, especially for diehard sports fans who felt their world had come crashing down because of a team's loss.

"If you can focus your attention at will on different goals and events in your life, then you can chose at any time to focus on the things that are going well or have been promising and avoid focusing on the things that are going badly."

His recommendation was to weed out bad advice from people who thought not caring at all would mean not being let down.

"I don't think that we should just think it's unimportant beforehand because then we miss out on the fun and the excitement of really rooting for a team and wanting them to win and feeling good when they do win," Weijers said.

"So let yourself get excited, let yourself get worked up, enjoy the game or the race but if we lose, you need to turn on your mental flexibility and you need to direct your attention to something else very quickly because it's actually true that it doesn't really matter."

Watching sport, supporting a team and being caught up in the moment was a special way to bond with other people, Weijers said.

"It can be a very good, bonding, social occasion to watch those events and share in the joy of winning."