Mental Health Tips for Gamers

min read
A woman sitting in half lotus pose, meditating.
BetMGM Feb 17, 2023, 12:55 PM

If you’re a passionate or competitive gamer, it’s understandable that you might occasionally experience negative emotions when you’re having a bad run or you’ve already burnt out, but you keep gaming anyway. Regardless of whether you like to play online casino games, fill your time with strategy titles or go toe to toe with other players in online shooting games, you might struggle to sustain a healthy mental balance while you play. As with everything, there can be positives and negatives to gaming.

We’ve put together some of the best mental health tips to help gamers keep a healthy frame of mind and find a good balance between what’s happening on the screen and what’s happening in real life. If you ever feel the need to help recenter yourself, follow these seven mental health tips to improve your well-being.

1. Write down your feelings in a journal

If you’re struggling with negative thoughts or emotions, it may help to express your feelings in a journal. Use journaling as a form of mental health counseling.

By jotting down your thoughts regularly, you’ll find you can reduce stress, keep a lid on your anxiety levels and improve how you manage depression. Of course, if you prefer to keep things in the 21st century, there are plenty of note-taking and journaling apps you can download onto your smartphone. Do some research and find one that works for you. You may also be surprised by what you get out of re-reading what you’ve written. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

The entry under “Journaling for mental health” in the University of Rochester’s Health Encyclopedia offers the following tips to help you start journaling:

Try to write everyday

Set aside a few minutes every day to write – this will help you make journaling a habit.

Make it easy

Keep a pen and paper handy at all times. That way, when you want to write down your thoughts, you can. You can also keep a journal on your smartphone.

Write or draw whatever feels right

Your journal doesn’t need to follow a structure. It’s your private place to discuss and create whatever you want to express your feelings. Let the words and ideas flow freely. Don’t worry about spelling mistakes or what other people might think.

Use your journal as you see fit

You don’t have to share your journal with anyone. If you do want to share some of your thoughts with trusted friends and loved ones, you could show them parts of your journal.

2. Exercise regularly

A man doing a plank exercise in front of his laptop.

While it may be tempting to just sit on your couch or chair all day and play online slots, a lack of exercise can negatively affect a gamer’s mental health. 

A 2006 study, ‘Exercise for mental health,’ published in The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, discusses the benefits that physical activities such as jogging, swimming and walking can have for mental health. It found that these activities would likely result in the following improvements:

  • Lower levels of anxiety
  • Reduced depression
  • Improved mood
  • Better cognitive function

Regular exercise also reduces the knock-on effects of these negative emotions, such as poor self-esteem and social withdrawal. Be sure to include easy at-home regular exercises before or after you play casino games for optimal focus.

This is good news, but what makes it even better is that you don’t need to sign up for an expensive gym membership to take advantage of these benefits – you only need 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise a week to see an uptick. This could be as easy as a single brisk walk for 30 minutes or three shorter 10-minute walks spread out over a few days. Your pace should be such that you feel you’ve got your blood flowing! Naturally, you can do more than that to improve your overall fitness if you’re careful and don’t overdo it.

3. Eat the right foods

Many of us have heard the phrase “healthy body, healthy mind.” While this certainly applies to exercise, it’s also important to consider what you eat. This extract from the Harvard Health blog article, “Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food,” highlights one of the key roles that food (and your gut) play in maintaining mental health:

“Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions. What’s more, the function of these neurons — and the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin — is highly influenced by the billions of ‘good’ bacteria that make up your intestinal microbiome.”

While scientists have acknowledged the role food plays in affecting a person’s mood, it’s still a fairly new field of study, so the jury’s still out on some of the finer details. Consider a Mediterranean-style diet, which consists predominantly of fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, seafood and olive oil, a moderate amount of poultry, eggs, cheese, yogurt and little red meat. Other highly processed foods, such as sodas, processed meat and refined grains should be left off the table. Try switching up what you eat and notice the effect this has on your overall life and your gameplay in particular. 

4. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep

A woman asleep in bed.

While it may be tempting to squeeze in one more game late at night, especially when you’re learning how to play casino card games, you should be careful not to sacrifice much-needed sleep. An article by The National Institute of Health, “How disrupted sleep may lead to heart disease,” explains how vital sleep is for maintaining your physical health. Good, quality sleep can reduce the risk of inflammation, heart disease and stroke.

Sleep also helps you maintain your mental wellness, as covered in WebMD’s article. Getting enough sleep will provide you with a better-functioning brain and also help improve your mood. Not only will your brain be in a better condition to handle negative feelings, but also improve your focus and memory – two vital requirements for successful gaming! So if you like to play online slots or other games of chance late at night, make sure you’re not losing sleep over them!

5. Practice meditation

While this may seem a bit ‘out there’ for some readers, there’s absolutely no doubt that meditation, or the training of attention and awareness, can improve your mental health. Healthline.com has put together an article highlighting 12 of these benefits. It is aptly titled “12 Science-based benefits of meditation and argues that meditation: 

  1. Reduces stress 
  2. Controls anxiety
  3. Promotes emotional health
  4. Enhances self-awareness
  5. Lengthens attention span
  6. May reduce age-related memory loss
  7. Can generate kindness
  8. May help fight addictions
  9. Improves sleep
  10. Helps control pain
  11. Can decrease blood pressure
  12. Accessible anywhere

Meditation can also help you beat cognitive biases for better outcomes with online casino games. If you’re unsure how to meditate, there are many online resources and smartphone apps dealing with the many different styles of meditation. Take your time and make sure to search for a method that works for you.

6. Find your community

If you are struggling with your mental health, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Thankfully there are many online communities (such as HealthyGamer) and offline groups where one can draw on several mental health resources. Consider looking for a group to help you through any difficult times you might be going through.

7. Take a break

One of the easiest tips that you can use is simply to take a break. If you find yourself on tilt, simply step away from whatever game you’re playing and find something else to do. A break will help you calm down and clear your mind of any negative emotions so you can return to the game at another time with a better mindset. 

This will hopefully improve your performance if you’re playing a skill-based game, but even if you’re playing casually, a relaxed mood will also remind you that you’re playing these games to have fun!

Enjoy great games at our online casino

If you’re in the mood for some online casino games, be sure to look at all the thrilling titles we have at BetMGM. You can find an incredible range of gambling experiences on our casino games app or website, from live dealer casino games, to casino table games and casino slot games.

Register at BetMGM to enjoy all the fantastic gaming available at our real online casino!

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.