Games are meant to provide fun and relaxation, but have become too competitive which can trigger negative feelings. Video game anxiety is triggered when failing to level up, or when feeling that you have let down teammates.
Risa Williams said that video game anxiety can certainly affect one’s life in many different ways. And it induces a repetitive negative feeling that when not handled well can go wild. Williams is a licensed psychotherapist and has written a book entitled: “Ultimate Anxiety Toolkit”.
So how do we respond? Should we just turn away and leave competitive gaming behind? It doesn’t have to be this way. Robin Mosley of wired suggested 3 ways to handle video game anxiety to better enjoy gaming:
1. Breakdown goals into smaller chunks
Instead of aiming for big goals, it would be wise to break down goals into smaller chunks. In this way, video games can reduce anxiety.
Sometimes when trying to complete levels or big achievements, something within will prompt you to just keep going, says Williams. That is why breaking goals into smaller chunks with time limits can help gamers to feel more relaxed. More so for games that are increasingly achievement-based. Gamers will get the feeling that they have not really finished the game.
To reduce the need to keep going, Williams suggests shifting focus elsewhere and incentivize when doing so. This can release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that can make one feel motivated.
2. Shift the energy somewhere else
Planning something enjoyable to do before and after the game can help handle the anxiety. Anything that can make one enjoy and reduce stress.
Becoming more aware can help gamers. Whenever a change of mood or breathing is noticed, take a break. And shift to doing exercise which is known to relieve anxiety or perhaps watch fun movies on TV.
When playing alone or with a team, sharing experiences can be relieving. You can initiate a conversation with teammates or even with opponents to enhance a friendlier atmosphere.
Finally, gamers need to learn to laugh at their mistakes. Or graciously embrace defeat or failure as part of the games, says Rashmi Parmar. A psychiatrist at the Community Psychiatry Parmer further advises gamers to discontinue shaming or blaming themselves after a defeat. Avoid nurturing the feeling of defeat or failure unless you are trying to learn something from it.
3. Play to enjoy with friends to avoid video game anxiety
It is understandable that game developers want players to engage for a prolonged time as much as possible, a Therapist Sobin says. It is the dopamine that can make gamers feel elated and keep gamers playing.
Sobin’s advice for reducing anxiety is to bend towards the social conversation. He suggests building or join online communities like Discord, Reddit, and Twitch. This will help when the gamer feels anxiety by playing alone. Nothing beats like playing with those players that are fun to play with.
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