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Dealing with negative emotions in gaming

tldr: When faced with negative emotions during gaming, take a break and remind yourself that there are more important things in life. Reflect on whether you still enjoy playing the game and don't be afraid to quit.


I don't know about you but I find myself having negative emotions from gaming way more often than I would like. And what's worse is that I often carry those negative emotions in my everyday life even after I stopped playing. We are all human beings (unless you are a bot scanning through my blog over the Internet), it is perfectly normal to have negative emotions. The key is to know how to deal with them when they araise, and ideally minimise their occurances in the first place. I hope to share about my experiences onthe many negative emotions I faced during gaming and also some tips on how I deal with them.

1. Tilt

The most common negative emotion I face when gaming is tilt. Tilt is when something doesn't go your way during the game and you start to feel frustrated and often associated with a loss in concentration and affect your performance in the game. Tilt often spirals deeper and deeper because as you tilt more, you lose more, and become more frustrated. This is particularly important for e-sports players, and hence the ability to deal with tilt is a very strong asset for e-sports players.

I will mostly to talking from a casual gamer perspective because I am primarily a casual gamer. For casual gamers, we have the option to just take a break from the game. As a casual gamer, often the best thing to do when facing tilt is to take a break from the game and remind yourself what you want to get out of from playing the game. For most, gaming is a hobby and the main reason why we play is to have fun. If you are not having fun any more, then just take a break and go do something else, and more importantly try to take your mind off the game. I personally find it easiest to take my mind off the game by zooming out and think about bigger things in life and realising that the game is really just a very small thing on the grand scheme of things. Of course it is easier said than done because I have been in such scenarios many times when I lose 10 games in a row and I just want to play another game so I can climb back up the ladder / gain back my ratings. This is a reminder for my future self when I tilt again, go get a glass of water, drink it, move away from the gaming device, and think about something else in life.

For professionals who play games for a living, it could be a bit different because it is your livelihood, and you may not have an easy option to just quit during a tournament let's say. Self-confidence and concentrations are probably the two attributes that can help with tilt for professional gamers. Believe in your ability to do the best based on the position you are in, and focus on what can be done for the remaining of the game.

2. Anxiety and stress

I can feel very stressed sometimes when I get to some important milestones in the game, say getting close to climbing to the highest tier on the ladder. Again, it is normal to feel that way because we are really into the game and we really want to climb to that rank / tier. That sense of achievement is one of the main reasons we game, but it is also the source of our stress and anxiety during our gaming sessions. There has been times where I just stopped playing because I was afraid of losing ranks, and that's a perfectly viable way of dealing with the stress of playing. The key to deal with stress is to be content with whatever position you end up. I know my own limitations, and I am happy with wherever I get to based on my ability. Similar to dealing with other negative emotions, I find it useful to zoom out and you may realise that your ranking in the game is really not such a big deal compared to many bigger things in life.

For professionals, this is where experience really shows. If you have been in similar situations before, you will feel less scared / anxious as you have experienced it before and you know what it is like. But still, everyone will face some new high pressure situations, and it is all about being able to focus on the present gamr and not get distracted by the bigger picture.

3. The grind

I have played many games where it was fun at first because everything was new and the progress was fast, but then after some time it became a grind, and I was just logging in everyday doing the same thing over and over again. It is important to regularly reflect on the games that you are playing and ask yourself if you are still having fun while playing it. Here I am assuming that the reason you play the game is to have fun. At some point if you are not really enjoying the game and you find yourself just needing to play because you need to complete daily / weekly quests, you should ask yourself whether it is still worth your time and effort to continue. Why do you need to complete the quests? Do you rewards matter? Is it worth it to go through the grind? For some, the answer may be yes and you feel good about the grind because you are rewarded, but for some, you may want to forget about the sunk cost and move on.

With the rise of play and earn (which is a relatively old term by now), monetary incentives in gaming become more accessible to the everyday gamers. In which case you should ask yourself whether you are treating it as a job or as a game. If you are treating as a job, the question becomes whether your return is worth the time and effort you put in. If you feel like it is worth it, then there is your motivation to continue with the grind, but it is important to take into account your emotional burden in your considerations similar to how you would do when you choose to do any other jobs. 


I have only covered the 3 main negative emotions I personally faced during gaming and there are certainly other ones such as disappointment, annoyance etc. For me, the most useful thing to do is to remind myself that the game is not that important. There are more important things in life.

This post serves as a reminder for myself when I face with such emotions in my future gaming sessions, and I hope you will also find it useful! Do feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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From Professor to Gamer
From Professor to Gamer

Sharings from a former professor who became a content creator in gaming (mainly web3 games). This blog aims to have all sorts of posts related to gaming, web3, content creation etc. from the prospective of an ex-professor.

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