Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults every year. For those who suffer from anxiety, gaming can be a fun and relaxing way to escape reality. However, for some people, gaming can actually make their anxiety worse, thanks to the increased toxicity and verbal abuse experienced on today’s video gaming platforms.
If this is you, don’t worry! There are ways to manage your anxiety while video gaming. Also, if you want to understand more about your autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for managing your anxiety, read more in this article.
This article will discuss some tips and tricks that can help you stay calm, focused, and anxiety-free while gaming.
Table of Contents
Understand Your Triggers
What are your triggers? What makes your anxiety worse when you are gaming? Identifying your triggers is the first step to managing them.
For some people, the competitive nature of multiplayer games may trigger their anxiety. For others, it may be the fear of failure or making mistakes. Once you know what your triggers are, you can start to work on managing them.
For example, if you get anxious when playing games with many people, try playing online with just a few friends or family members. If the fear of failure is your trigger, try playing single-player games or ones with a low difficulty setting. The key is finding what works for you and avoiding the things that worsen your anxiety.
Breathe, Breathe, Breathe
When you start to feel anxious, the best thing you can do is focus on your breath. Breathe in through your nose and count to five, and then breathe out through your mouth and count to five. Repeat this until you start to feel more relaxed.
Breathing in through your nose allows oxygen to fill up your lungs more effectively than if you were to breathe through your mouth. When you’re anxious, you tend to take shallow breaths, which can make you feel even more lightheaded and panicked. Focusing on your breath will ground you and give you something else to focus on besides your anxiety.
Take Regular Breaks
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break. Get up and walk around, stretch, or grab a snack. It’s essential to give your body (and mind) a break when you start to feel overwhelmed.
Anxiety can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. It’s essential to listen to your body and give yourself the breaks you need. Remember, staying seated in the same position for hours on end is not only bad for your physical health, but it can also make your anxiety worse.
Regular breaks will help keep your anxiety at bay and allow you to return to the game refreshed and ready to take on anything.
Play With the People You Like
When you’re playing with friends, family, or people you enjoy spending time with, it’s easy to forget about your anxiety and just have fun. The trick is to choose people that you feel comfortable around. If you’re feeling anxious, try joining a friend in their game or starting a conversation in a chat room. It’s a great way to take your mind off of things and relax.
Additionally, your friends can calm you down when you’re overwhelmed and help you get through challenging situations. If you don’t have any friends that play video games, there are plenty of online communities that you can join. You’ll be able to find people with similar interests and make some new friends in the process.
So next time you’re feeling stressed, try logging into your favorite game and spending some time with old and new friends. It might just be the break from reality that you need.
Set Realistic Goals for Yourself
Does the thought of losing a game give you anxiety? Do you feel like you need to be the very best? If so, it’s important to remember that video games are supposed to be fun.
Setting unrealistic goals for yourself will only lead to frustration and disappointment. If you’re constantly stressed out when playing video games online, it might be time to take a step back and reassess your goals. Make sure that they are something that you can realistically achieve, such as getting to the next level or beating your previous score. That way, even if you don’t win, you’ll still be making progress.
Remember, it’s okay to lose sometimes. Losing is a part of gaming, and it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. What matters is how you handle it. If you get angry or upset, take a break and come back when you’ve calmed down.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
There’s no shame in admitting that you need help with something. If you’re struggling with anxiety, there are plenty of resources available to you.
There are online forums where you can connect with other people who understand what you’re going through. You can also talk to a therapist or counselor about your anxiety and how it’s impacting your life.
If you need help managing your anxiety, don’t be afraid to reach out for it. There are people who want to help you and support you. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Managing your anxiety while gaming is possible. It might take some time and effort, but it’s definitely doable. Remember to be patient with yourself, set realistic goals, and ask for help when needed. With a little bit of work, you’ll be able to enjoy gaming without letting your anxiety get in the way.