- Mental Health
Keeping Gamer Rage Under Control: 5 Tips
The Beast, Unleashed!
For some of us, video games have this uncanny ability of bringing out our worst qualities. While mashing controllers or keyboards, we experience a weird, Jeckyl-and-Hyde “Hulkification”. No one would think us capable of being rational, civil, and fair-minded people if they could see us hunched in front of our screens with bloodshot eyes, pounding our desks and swearing up a blue streak.
Gamer rage can be hard to control! Dealing with challenging objectives, seemingly incompetent (or just inexperienced) players, or the frustration of defeat is sometimes all it takes to make us go totally “darkside”.
It took me a while to get my raging under control, but along the way I’ve discovered a number of simple ways to help keep angry-me under wraps. Try using these tips to help keep you from going full-tilt berserker-mode on your friends, family, or innocent online bystanders!
1. Disable all communications
Okay, I know this sounds a bit extreme. But if you can’t trust yourself to not be an angry jerk in chat boxes, across audio chat, over your headset, or whatever else you’re using, don’t even give yourself the opportunity!
Don’t play with a headset or over audio chat networks like Skype. Disable chat features and don’t participate in in-game written or spoken chat. By not having these things available to you, you couldn’t speak or type a toxic word even if you wanted to!
Over time, you’ll train your brain that you don’t need to respond to every little thing that antagonizes you. Eventually, keeping your toxic remarks to yourself will feel more natural. When mean comments can be contained to your head, they can be controlled and subdued. This way, nobody else has to be on the receiving end of your rage!
2. Play with people who can keep you accountable.
Having a supportive friend play with you—in the same room or via Skype, preferably—can a good way to keep your gaming behavior in check. Part of what makes it easy for gamers to get nasty with one another is the perceived distance that the internet creates between players.
Many studies, such as Stanley Milgram’s obedience study in 1963, a person will tend to care less about the feelings of others the more “distanced” he feels from them. Almost all of the online players that we encounter are complete strangers who may be located anywhere. It’s pretty hard to imagine more distance between people than that.
So while may be easy to snap at some stranger you’ll likely never see again, it’s much, much harder to rage at a friend. Playing with a friend will keep you accountable for your behavior and can serve as a reminder that the other gamers you’re playing with are real people with real feelings, not just names on a screen.
3. Don't play under stress.
For those of us who struggle to control gamer rage, the games we play produce enough stress already. Adding to our stress heaps by playing while upset about other issues (or simply to vent) can make us meltdowns waiting to happen. We play to relax but can end up becoming anything but.
If you’re upset or under stress, give yourself time to “cool off” before gaming. Playing while relaxed makes you all the more likely to stay relaxed. Don’t give yourself extra incentive to snap at someone.
Instead of video games, I’d recommend finding a better way to deal with other stress in your life—like sports or exercise. Exercising is a great way to work off feelings of aggression and de-stress…and you’ll feel good afterward!
Since I began to deal with my gamer rage, I’ve started lifting at my gym and taken an interest in dancing. Who knew Zumba could be so therapeutic!
Having another means of de-stressing means that gaming, for me, can be a relaxing, stress-free activity. It also makes gaming so much more fun to do with friends—especially since they don’t have to worry about me losing it and snapping at them!
4. Accept some losses as inevitable.
In most every video game, there is some element of fifty-fifty chance. Either you win the match, or you don’t. You able to get to the next level (or prestige), or you aren’t. You live, or you die. While many other factors may play a part, often determinant of our success boils down to a simple coin toss.
Now, If I were to spend all day tossing a coin and having a crazy fit whenever I got “tails”, you’d have to conclude that I was crazy. While I might desire one of the two outcomes, getting the other is bound to happen. It doesn’t mean I’m “bad” at tossing the coin; it’s just proof that the laws of the universe work…and not always in the ways we’d like.
Don’t rage over a loss; everybody has them now and again. If your ability to enjoy a game is hinged on your ability to win, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead of viewing defeat as something to be avoided, learn from your failure and use it to help you in the future! Be constructive! Forming a positive view of defeat is a great way to keep your cool while gaming!
5. Make having fun you number one goal!
It’s just a fact of life that people tend to do better—not just at gaming, but at work, school, and just about everything else—when we’re having fun! Instead of making your goal “to win” and letting your competitiveness drive you, tell yourself that win or lose, you will have fun!
It seems really counterintuitive, but sometimes the biggest thing keeping us from doing well is our desire to do well! As I write this, I can’t keep from thinking of Obi Wan Kenobi telling Luke Skywalker to dodge laser shots by putting his blast shield down. Sometimes the best way to achieve success is to not try to achieve success…but please don’t quote me on this when talking to your parents about your career plans!
Did you honestly enjoy the time you spent gaming? If so, you are victorious! When you’re playing to have fun, you’re creating a much more relaxed and friendly atmosphere…and this helps everyone to do better! Increase your chances of success by keeping your eyes on the real prize!
Or if you play League of Legends like I do...
Keeping calm and carrying on.
By applying these simple strategies to my gaming, I was able to get my gamer rage under control! It wasn’t always easy, but it was definitely worth the effort! Now I don’t have to worry about going all "Teen Wolf" on my friends or any random blokes online. And, since I’m no longer having rage episodes, I don’t have to worry about other people questioning my sanity as I have epic scream-offs with my computer screen. That’s always a plus!
Keeping my attitude in check makes gaming more enjoyable for me, my friends, and other players online. Give these a try to see if they can help you put a leash on your inner beast!
Need some support or just want to chat? Feel free to comment here or friend me on Facebook! Thank you so much for reading!
All the best!
© 2014 TwerkZerker