Mental Gymnastics – Mental Struggles and Challenges in Esports
The Esports Revue, Episode 4 with hosts, Ben Sizemore & Patrick Ryan
Watch The Esports Revue Podcast Episode 4
Listen to The Esports Revue Podcast Episode 4
You can also find The Esports Revue Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher, or check out past episodes on Soundcloud!
The first step in conquering on-stage performance anxiety, is to attain a solid understanding of the problem. As the most common phobia in the United States, there are many individuals dedicated to helping you better understand performance anxiety. We are not experts, nor are we trained in anyway. If you need help, please seek the help of a trained professional. In this episode, we will look at the available resources dedicated to explaining and treating performance anxiety related to esports and competitive gaming. We will also try our best to compile any useful information we find along the way right here in this article. If you find anything additional that we have missed, please don’t hesitate to include it in the comments below.
What is Stage Fright?
From WebMD: “Performance anxiety (stage fright) can prevent you from doing what you enjoy and can affect your career. Worst of all, performance anxiety can negatively affect your self-esteem and self-confidence. Although it may be impossible to totally overcome performance anxiety, there are many things you can do to control your emotions and reduce anxiety.
Being the center of attention and having all eyes on you can be stressful. Your body reacts to this situation in much the same way as it would if you were being attacked. Your body’s “fight-or-flight” mechanism kicks in, which is why symptoms of stage fright are similar to symptoms that occur when you are in real danger.”
The Nature of Performance Anxiety
Performance anxiety is what happens when you focus on your anxiety, rather than your ultimate goal. This hesitancy stems from a tendency to resist and fight anxiety, rather than work with it. The result is that the performer perceives the on-stage experience is a threat. To avoid this negative perception, it is best to see the on-stage experience as a challenge.
Depression in Esports
There are many examples of depression in esports. Recently, we have seen Remi step down from the Renegades, Gosu speak about his depression, Quas step down due to depression and The Esports Writer write an article, “Battling Anxiety and Esports: my story of facing mental illness.”
Please look below in “Resources” for a number of videos discussing the topic.
Tips to Help Conquer Your Brain
- Develop calm habits
- Create rituals for yourself. When you wake up, what is the first thing you do?
- Be grateful
- Promote thankfulness within every interaction you have each day. *Avoid complaining.
- Turn anxiety into inspiration via @ Zen Habits
- “Ease and inspiration come from experiencing the present moment.”
- Focus on your breath
- There is a correct way to breathe, learn more from Andrew Weil’s, “The Art and Science of Breathing“.
- Exercise, eat well, sleep and socialize
- When you are down it is easy to ignore the simple things like going to exercise. My psychiatrist once told me, “When you recognize you are depressed, do the thing you want to do least.”
- If you want to compete, develop a champion’s mindset (detailed below).
- There is no way we covered everything here. Please leave your tips in the comments below.
The Champion’s Mindset
“A champion has the freedom to choose for themselves what they want to do in a given day. And their choice to constantly pursue their passion by dedicating themselves to training is a hallmark of mental toughness. They feel competent in their approach to their training. Confident that if they put in the time, they will get the reward. And they don’t measure their reward in terms of comparison with others. Rather, they measure themselves at the start and end of every day, and see if they grew. Also the material they measure in themselves is NOT just their performance gain, but also their grit, their tenacity, and all the decisions they made that day of which they can be proud. They feel related to their aspirational goals. They aim for the sun, while knowing they might not reach it, because if they do so their arrow will fly farther than if they aimed level with the target. They are able to logically tie their daily actions to their aspirational, far-out dream goals because they have a clear path to them. This path my change and be adjusted relatively often (including the aspirational goals) but it’s their giving their daily actions meaning. Those three things lead them to being Intrinsically Motivated.”
“A champion lives and acts in the present, focused on the task, and is non-judgemental.”
“A champion “lives” their sport and is always seeking to reorganize their understanding of both IT and their EXPERIENCE of it. They don’t settle for a single-dimensional view of their sport, but rather they reflect on it, train hard for it, train softly for it, think about it, analyze it, converse about it, and find joy and sorrow in it. Due to this they are able to live, while also pursuing sport. Because they recognise that the journey rather than the destination is a healthier mindset for a globally competitive athlete. Because of this they can achieve a form of inevitability thinking, wherein they truly believe that through their efforts they will achieve their goals, while being willing to accept any given day that it might be snatched away from them via injury, family issues, life, or a myriad of other uncontrollable challenges. Thanks to this mindset they find victory over their opponents in unorthodox ways, and are able to snatch victory from defeat with only a short lapse in judgment from their competitors.”
“There are many other attributes I would use to describe her or him. Enough to fill a book. But those are my big ones. ‘Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.’ -Aurelius”
Check out Weldon’s website MindGames.gg for more.
- #LetsTalk 2016 – Depression via @ Medium
- Mental Health Discussion via @ Trash Talk
- Battling Anxiety and Esports: my story of facing mental illness via @ The Esports Writer
- Suspended League Of Legends Pro Says He’s Leaving Esports Due To Depression via @ Kotaku
- AMA Weldon Green via @ Reddit