We all know how important happiness is. You read books and magazines where authors discuss how important it is and you watch movies featuring characters’ epic struggles in the search of happiness. These works make it clear that the question “how do I become more happy?” is something many people ask themselves at one point or another. This is also an important question for gamers and eSport athletes because happiness, or rather being unhappy, is known to negatively affect performance.
How can you avoid this? In a recent MGTV episode Weldon Green proposed two 2 keys to discovering happiness…
Gratitude and Mindfulness.
Gratitude is the ability to be grateful for the present moment, and is the precursor for joy – happiness in the extreme. Whether the present moment you find yourself in is good or bad, there are inevitably things that you can be grateful for, such as the very fact that you are alive in that moment. I think as gamers, we can all imagine a time where we are uniquely grateful just for being able to play at all. For eSport athletes that have experienced an injury, this can be especially true.
Repetitive stress injuries are extremely common in competitive gamers, and the healing process can take a huge toll on players emotionally. It can take several weeks, even months for injuries like these to heal, which can be absolute torture for an avid gamer. Often they wonder, “what is a gamer that can’t game?”
But there is a positive side to this crisis of identity. When they get back to playing again, these players can more easily shake off those tough losses and annoying teammates. Somehow it just doesn’t to seem outweigh how great it is to just be able to play again.
What things are you grateful for that can keep you on track while you play? The more you think about things you are grateful for, the happier you will become and the better you will perform.
Simple mindfulness depends upon your connection to the present moment. Many people make the mistake of focusing too much on the past or on the future and as a result they miss the moment.
I was having a chat with Summer Scott about exercising mindfulness while gaming, and she told me that this was definitely something she struggled with when she first started out:
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been extremely self-critical; and before I started using mindfulness in my gaming, that tendency really took a toll on me.
I would constantly ‘should all over myself’ saying things like : ‘I should have dodged that shot’, or ‘I should have won that last game.’ It was absolutely exhausting. I spent so much time ruminating on my previous mistakes, that it was impossible for me to focus and improve in the game I was actually in.
Learning to really focus on the present moment took such a huge weight off me. I didn’t have to worry about the mistakes I made before, or the mistakes I might yet make. Instead I was able to take each new game, each new play, and each new moment as an opportunity to improve and perform my best.
Mindfulness is just such a freeing and powerful skill, and speaking of gratefulness, I am forever grateful that I’ve learned to use it in gaming and my everyday life.”
Focusing on the present moment allows to actually enjoy it rather than ignore it, allowing you more opportunities for happiness and increased performance. Not to mention, it can give you something new to be grateful for, so it’s a 2 for 1 special!
Can you think of a time where failing to focus on the present moment has hurt YOUR performance?
Give it a Try
While these steps sound simple in theory, they may prove to be more challenging in practice. Weldon says that one of the best ways to start conditioning yourself to be grateful and mindful is journaling – even it’s only 5 minutes a day.
Start a Gratefulness Journal
One easy way to get this going is to start by listing three things that you are grateful for when you wake up in the morning. (Feel free to include breakfast in the list – personally I’m always grateful for breakfast).
In order for this to work though, you must be consistent with it. Try to do it day after day. Eventually you will start to automatically wake up feeling grateful not just for three things – or for breakfast – but for many things about yourself and your life.
Other Journaling Ideas
Observations: Write about something you observed. Start off with a simple description. As you practice this more you can start going into more detail.
Questions and Curiosities: Sometimes there are things that happen to us or subjects that you come across that you cannot wrap your mind around – write about them. You can also go back to them later and explore them further. If anything the act of getting it down paper will aid in your mindfulness.
Information: Are there things about yourself or others that you want to remember? Take this down in the journal. The act of reflecting upon what you learn can help solidify those lessons and even expand upon them.
Don’t let your mood get in the way of you enjoying gaming. Begin you gratefulness journal this week to train your brain to love life and be happy. To help get you started, download this gratefulness journal template and fill it out for the next 7 days.
Click here, Daily Gratefulness Journal for download. (Broken and coming soon!)
You will be amazed by how much just 1 week of journaling can increase your happiness and gaming performance!