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Unplug To Play Better: The Importance Of Mental Health In Gaming

Back in the day, mental health was deeply undervalued with many people underestimating the
importance of it
.

It’s understandable that at first glance, physical health is the most noticeable indicator of one’s health upfront; but nowadays, more and more research elucidates on the impacts of deteriorating mental health and how it underscores a vast majority of physical ailments, exacerbating them.

Unplug To Play Better: The Importance Of Mental: eAskme
Unplug To Play Better: The Importance Of Mental: eAskme

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Likewise, in such a mentally stimulating activity like gaming, it comes as no surprise that a gamer’s mental health is more susceptible to distress, particularly in the world of esports.

It is just as important as having the right gaming equipment, like a mmo gaming mouse.

Managing Mental Health in Esports

Managing Mental Health in Esports: Unplug To Play Better: The Importance Of Mental: eAskme
 

As told by the media, two of the more prevalent mental health concerns experienced by gamers are anxiety and depression.

These two mental health issues are immensely complex and unfold in multiple different forms and stages of severity.

Both these conditions are constantly being misunderstood because they have always been thrown around loosely and taken lightly.

In reality, they can manifest in many different forms such as panic attacks or social anxiety for the former and intense depressive episodes for the latter. There are no quick fixes for either.

So many competitive gamers have been victims of such mental health issues, resulting in them suffering from episodes during a tournament or even departing from the esports scene entirely.

In order to avoid or at least minimize the effects of mental health degradation, here are a few practices you can adopt to help unwind and relax your mind before or after an onset.

1. Unplugging

The first solution is pretty self-explanatory: unplugging (no pun intended). Gamers have to pay special attention to detach themselves from all sources of technology stimulation, be it their phones, computers, television, and the internet in general.

If you find yourself struggling from spending some time away from any of these momentarily, it’s even more so an indication for you to unplug.

As a competitive gamer, it’s understandable that you’re consistently surrounded by technological gadgets; bombarded with endless visual and mental stimulation.

Naturally, this puts your brain under a lot of stress if you don’t take the necessary breaks to rest.

If you can’t peel yourself away from a screen, taking some time off to scroll through Reddit or read a
Facebook post is still better than continuing to engage in gaming.

Additionally, it’s also pertinent to note that given our age of social media and interconnectivity,
we’re always flooded with news and updates on the new trends and the lives of virtually
everyone.

As a result, it becomes difficult to avoid consuming information regarding updates of people, for example, your competitor’s achievements. Needless to say, the inundation of such information will do no favors for one’s confidence, emotions, and mental health overall.

2. Float Tanks

Although unplugging is rather common sense and a straightforward solution to alleviate mental
stress
, I bet you’ve never heard of some more unusual methods like float tanks.


Float tanks are enclosed tubes filled with about 360 kilograms of Epson salts dissolved in water to a depth of 25 centimeters. If you’re familiar with the Dead Sea, you’ll probably be able to guess what happens next. Once inside, simply lay down and you’ll begin floating on the water.

The difference between the Dead Sea and a float tank, however, is that the float tank’s water is especially heated to match our body temperature, thus removing any sensation of the water whatsoever. It’s truly an out-of-body experience because it’s a sensory-deprivation tank. It’ll feel like you’re floating on nothing, seemingly suspending you in time and space.
This method is an effective way to break one’s concentration and relax the mind, especially for competitive gamers since it’s an intense psychological stressor.

Making split-second decisions and trying to outsmart your opponents for hours on end can’t be comfortable for anyone’s mind.

Some of the benefits of float tanks include pain management, heightened senses, chronic stressor relief, brain synchronization, introspection, visualization, heightened learning, and insomnia management.

While these benefits might not come into effect in the first session, there’s been marked improvements in patrons’ welfare after attending several more sessions.

The benefits are undeniable and more gamers should partake in this.

3. Forest Bathing

Apart from the man-made solution of float tanks, nature never fails in relieving one’s mind and
soul.

The practice of forest bathing finds its origins from Japan and South Korea in which you literally just drop everything in your busy life and go off the grid for a while to get lost in a quiet forest somewhere.

Surrounding yourself in nature is a guaranteed relaxer as you indulge your senses in the fresh air, cooling shade of the forest green, and the ambient sounds of all the ecosystem around you.

Engaging with nature in this way is definitely beneficial for one’s cognitive and dexterity coordination in the long run.

Although this might seem a bit strange at first, this prescription is more common than you realize, especially in Shetland, Scotland.

Evidence of prolonged exposure in nature has shown to reduce hypertension, lower anxiety levels, raise endorphins, alleviate aggressive tendencies, manage ADHD symptoms, and regulate cortisol levels.

This method of relieving stress is definitely a better solution than taking pills.

4. Sleep and Exercise

Sleep’s a no-brainer: everyone loves sleep. It’s the time of the day where you can simply shut
off your brain for an inordinate amount of hours as you drift off into a comfortable slumber.

Although our generation constantly dismisses sleep by saying “sleep is for the weak”, they’re
jeopardizing their own physical and mental health.

When your body undergoes rapid eye movement (REM), studies have shown that it actually
improves our learning, memory, and overall emotional health.

If our sleeping pattern is disturbed, our brain is subjected to imbalance stress hormones, making us more irritable and less able to concentrate on tasks.

Since competitive gaming induces considerable stress on players for a prolonged period, it’s even more important for them to get good sleep to reduce their stress back to healthy levels. There’s literally no reason why you shouldn’t sleep more if your time affords it.

Lastly, exercise is a tool to combat anxiety and depression overall because it releases endorphins which is the “happy” chemical produced by your brain.

Endorphins manifest themselves in a variety of forms such as “runners high” or “the pump” depending on which sport you are involved in.

Regardless, the outcome is all the same.

Not only do you feel physically great after a good workout, but your mind will thank you for the positive chemicals produced.

Although exercise isn’t a quickfire way to ensure optimal health, it’s a long-term process on the
road to physical and mental wellness.

Of course, it can be supplemented with other activities or medication to assist you along the way.

Moreover, committing to exercise helps inculcate positive habits of discipline and persistence as you work towards a healthier body and mind.

Conclusion

Overall, most of the methods listed here aren’t new (except for perhaps, the float tank).

These suggestions have been echoed by many health professionals and advisors from the start till the end of time.

Everyone knows the benefits of these activities regardless of vocation or lifestyle because they’re applicable for every human being out there.

So what are you waiting for? Your key to better health is at your disposal, just waiting for you to take the first step.

If you still have any question, feel free to ask me.

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