Every addiction is bad, whether it is a substance or a video gaming addiction.
This is written for those of you who struggle with internet or video gaming addiction. Imagine yourself in the zone and competing head to head with your online opponent. Your adrenaline rises. Your feeling euphoric as you are no longer a part of reality, but rather inside the game. Then it ends. Your opponent won and you feel defeated. You look up at the clock and realize that 8 hours have passed. In order to play your favorite game, you have called in sick to work and you have not even started on your homework. You have isolated yourself from even spending time with family because your only focus in life is your game. You have become addicted to gaming. It is the only thing that achieves enjoyment for you.
Here are 9 tips to aid yourself or someone you know that might be struggling to overcome Gaming Addiction to avoid relapse and maintain prevention:
1. Set limits for yourself– start timing yourself each day and gradually decrease time by 5-10 minutes if possible.
2. Observe yourself– have you ever seen what you look like when spending hours playing a game. This can be a reality check. Begin to video record yourself and have other watch it with you.
3. Disempower anticipation– by reading about how the game ends, it breaks up your adrenaline. Discover cheats in the game that would prevent you from feelings challenged, this feeds into your addiction.
4. Reconnect yourself – set up ways to hang out with old friends, tell yourself to only play games if you have real live people playing with you. Set up these boundaries for yourself.
5. Establish new, real friendships – this might be a longer process, making new friends is not as easy as it sounds. Use your internet skills to search “meet-up” groups (i.e. meetup.com), if you enjoy particular hobbies, then seek out others who have similar interests (i.e. dungeons and dragons).
6. Hygiene and self-care – taking care of yourself should be first priority, make it a point to at least talk a walk outside everyday for some exercise, maintain good hygiene because once you no longer take care of yourself, then your quality of life will begin to diminish.
7. Self-awareness – pay attention to your moods in relation to your decreased time with gaming. Watch out for irritability or depression as a result of not feeding into your addiction. Seek out professional counseling if you suspect mood changes.
8. Redirect behaviors – identify other activities that will release your endorphins. Seek out productive ways to heighten your adrenaline. If you love to compete or be challenged, engage in team activities or individual physical challenges.
9. Seek out resources – some local support systems include: mindfulness/coping skills building group (858)217-4973, monthly mindfulness class (858)877-9728, OLGA Online Gamers Anonymous 12-step recovery program (888)319-2606. Seek out individual or group counseling with cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, or dialectical behavioral therapy.
All of these tips might seem overwhelming, however you can accomplish anything you truly desire in your heart and mind. Empowerment comes from your ability to believe, therefore do not give up and remember that many resources are available to you.
If you or loved one is suffering from gaming addiction, be sure to share these strategies on how to overcome gaming addiction.
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