Staying calm while losing a game is often easier said than done. These tips can help you cope better with anger while gaming and improve your overall experience. 

We all have these moments when losing a game. Blood pounding in our ears, temperature rising, raging breath, and the impulse to smash everything around you to a million pieces. Losing a game doesn’t always have to suck, but it is human nature to get angry when we do.

GIF from: gfycat.com

While losing our temper at video games can be funny to onlookers and result in an embarrassing viral clip, it is not amusing to the one experiencing it. Losing a game hurts, in a real way, because anger is an emotional experience and has proven to be very physical.  In many cases, like for pro players and content creators, anger can make or break a successful gaming career. Because nobody likes a sore loser. So, it is essential to learn how to keep your cool when you are losing.

And while keeping calm is often easier said than done, a few tactics could help ease the feelings of anger, failure, and depression that come with losing a game or match. Here are a few tips to help you stay calm.

 “Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” ― Mia Hamm

Take a Deep Breath

It sounds simple, but it is effective. When you get angry or upset, your heart rate goes up, you tremble, and muscles tense up. Slow deep breathing relaxes tight muscles, and when you exhale longer than you inhale, it tells your body everything is fine. Keep doing it until you feel that you are in control of your emotions again.

Use Your Senses

Take a second or two to engage your senses. Name one thing you can see, smell, touch, hear and taste. This simple exercise is an impactful way that brings your body back to its surroundings, and you will find it easier to talk yourself out of the stress.

Move Your Body

When you are about to lose control, your body holds on to a lot of energy. So, move it. Take a brisk walk, do a few jumping jacks, or do anything to help release that pent-up energy.

Make a Joke

Learn to laugh at your mistakes or accept defeat or failure. Finding humor in the situation is an excellent way to help your brain shift gears, and your teammates, friends, or fans will love you for it. After all, we all have our bad days.

 “There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.” ― Tom Krause

Get Support

Share your experiences with your teammates or friends. Take some time out of the game and chill out with them. Whether you are just chatting or playing something else does not matter. This can lead to plenty of fun moments and forge some great friendships.

Find Your Mantra

A mantra can help you refocus on a more positive point than your frustration, giving you a much-needed mental break when the game gets tough. Your mantra can be anything that inspires you, from an inspirational quote to a favorite song.

Try Meditation

Meditation or mindfulness training can help you stay focused on the present and find ways to cope effectively with challenging situations.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

It is okay to feel upset when you lose, but do not lash out at others. Being a good sport will make the game a better experience for everyone involved. If you feel overwhelmed, it may be an excellent time to reevaluate your goals.

“Losing is only temporary and not all encompassing. You must simply study it, learn from it, and try hard not to lose the same way again. Then you must have the self-control to forget about it.” – John Wooden

Real-Life Consequences

While it is very easy to get wrapped up in the competitive spirit of a game, it still is a game. You are not facing death, and if you lose, so what? Who will remember your loss tomorrow or next month, or even next year? No-one. So, are you having fun? Because that is the most important part. If not, it may be time to find a new game.

Be a Good Sport

Congratulate the winner immediately, even if you are holding on to your composure by a thread. This is a great way to shift the focus off you and make you look like a good sport. Then, if you need to vent, you can do it alone without any unwanted attention. However, if you cannot bring yourself to congratulate the winner, just don’t say anything.

Manage Your Emotions

Learn to recognize the physical symptoms of anger. Your body may show signs of irritation even before you realize it. Some may include tense muscles, a clenched jaw, headache, stomachache, increased heart rate, sudden sweating, shaking, or a dizzy feeling. Start doing calming exercises, like deep breathing, as soon as you notice your body reacting to stress.

“Failure is a detour; not a dead-end street.” -Zig Ziglar

Watch your Mindset

Keep in mind that gaming or being a gamer is only a PART of who you are. List all the wonderful things you have achieved, and you will see how much you have already overcome. A loss in a game is merely a drop in the ocean compared to what you have already accomplished. The world can be a pretty mean place, be kind towards yourself.

Take a Break

You may be at the point where your frustration with the game may affect your concentration. And besides, no one knows you better than you. You know what you will or can do when you are angry. Take a step back, and refocus. In other words, take a break. Find something calming to do before and after gameplay, go for a walk, have some fun, and relax.

Take a Nap

If you have been at it for hours, your reaction time and critical thinking skills are probably low. Similarly, your temper may be adversely affected. Get some rest. Your performance and mood will benefit from it.

“Losing is part of the game. If you never lose, you are never truly tested, and never forced to grow.” – David Sirlin

Positivity rubs off on people. So, do not boast or talk trash to your opponents when you win. They will surely return the favor when you lose. But, if you set an excellent example by winning gracefully, others will take note and do the same.

Celebrate Small Achievements

If you usually would blow up at the mere thought of not winning, even if you can control that impulse is a win. Tracking your performance in a journal can help you see your progress.

Remember Why You're Playing

The whole point of playing games is because you enjoy them. You do not have to enjoy losing, and it is perfectly okay to be competitive. But keep things in perspective. Losing doesn’t mean the whole game is terrible. Winning or losing are tiny parts of the entire experience.

Learn How to Lose

When you are angry, what you say to others has a more significant impact on them than you. You already lost, do not convert it into a double loss with angry words, which you most likely will regret later. Losing is an opportunity to learn, improve and show the world that it doesn’t shake you.

“I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.” – Muhammad Ali

Identify Serious Problems

You should control your emotions and not the other way around. Life is stressful, but gaming shouldn’t be. There may be some underlying emotional causes for constant anger while gaming. If you feel you have no control over your anger, reach out to your therapist or doctor.

Always Remember...

Neither winning nor losing a game is final. A few setbacks do not define who you are or delete all your skills and accomplishments so take it all in stride. Celebrate your wins gracefully, use your losses as a learning curve, and come back stronger and better.