The Importance of Positive Thinking When Playing Games

Written by on January 9, 2019 in News Flash with 0 Comments

Smart thinking leads to even smarter results. (Photo by Ramdlon / Public Domain)

A positive mindset can make a tremendous difference to the amount of success you enjoy in your gaming, and the level of enjoyment you get from it. In this article, we discuss why a positive mental attitude is essential in becoming a winning player of any game or sport over the long-term. Studies have already shown that a positive attitude can help people live longer, especially those with heart disease.

Firstly, it’s critical to differentiate between a positive player and a perfectionist player. The latter is someone with a fixation on results, wedded to success regardless of how much they enjoy playing games. Perfectionists can spoil it for themselves as their sheer single-mindedness can drain any enjoyment they once had for their game or sport. Simply put, there is nothing wrong with being confident that you can win, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all if there are times when you don’t. Let’s consider some of the facets that make up a positive mental attitude and apply it to those who play professional sports or even those who play board games, card games, or casino games.

Focus on the Processes and Performances You Can Control

It’s crucial not to waste your mental energy on worrying about outcomes you cannot control. There will always be variables you can’t influence in any game. For instance, when you play blackjack against a friend or even in a land-based casino, the odds suggest you will lose some hands and win others. But by remaining positive and sticking to the plan of using blackjack charts for your core game strategy, you can hopefully, win more than you lose.

Sports psychology insists that those who focus on getting the process right rather than the outcome will have a far brighter mindset when it comes to game day. Successful American high school basketball coach Morgan Wootten once said that basketball players should “evaluate wins and losses objectively” by reviewing their “effort and execution” rather than the “outcome of the game.” Whether it’s basketball or football, those who focus on the execution, one play at a time, are more likely to remain positive than those fixated on the overall outcome. Therefore, redefining and resetting the way your brain thinks is vital to being present in the moment. The best way to look at processes and overall performances is to remember that no Olympian has ever stood on the gold medal podium through fear and panic about winning the gold medal. Instead, they have focused solely on each step along the way before reaching that end goal.

The Benefit of Constructive Feedback and Encouragement

Try to develop a fresh outlook on your gameplay. (Infographic Credit by Awesome Sports)

There will be some of our readers that may be familiar with Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary coach of the English soccer team Manchester United. Ferguson was famous for his so-called “hairdryer treatment,” reading the riot act with underperforming players in the locker room at halftime or at the end of a match. However, scientists have proved that although the hairdryer treatment and criticism may get short-term results, people respond far better to constructive feedback and encouragement.

In the U.K., a study conducted by the University of Exeter found that sincere emotional support for golfers could significantly improve their handicap by as many as two strokes within a month of gameplay. The research came from the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology and centered on three male golfers: one of which was a professional and the other two were amateur despite competing at regional and national events. Dr. Paul Freeman of the University of Exeter offered one-to-one emotional support and encouragement before and after events as well as assisting them with practical tasks like booking accommodations for tournaments. The outcome of this support was that all three golfers saw their rounds improve by 1.78 shots per round over 10 events — almost six shots in a three-round event.

There is a fine line between the physical and the psychological in all forms of gameplay. Finding the right balance of motivation and a positive mental attitude can give athletes a significant boost. Get it wrong, however, and knock them down a peg or two and leave them playing within themselves. Those that offer succinct and specific positive feedback are more likely to influence performance levels positively. Note that many sports psychologists believe that constructive feedback and encouragement follows immediately after a game or event.

Engage In Positive Activities Outside of Your Gameplay

Whether you play sports or indulge in a spot of gaming, it is imperative that you keep your mindset fresh and positive outside of game time. There is a plethora of activities you can engage in to boost your positive thinking in advance of your next game. Specifically, listening to your favorite music can have a unique effect on your mental well-being. You might even be able to listen to your tunes while playing, depending on the games you play. Focus downtime on returning your mental state to a sense of calm, being sure to look toward your breathing. You’ll want to breathe deeply and slowly to regain a sense of control over your body.

While breathing techniques are especially popular in positive activities, such as yoga and meditation, you can use techniques of meditation to acknowledge negative thoughts and feelings and detach yourself from them. Meanwhile, yoga poses can also help professional and amateur gamers to develop increased awareness and help to refocus on the ability to tackle the task at hand and not worry about what is in the future. Be prepared to embrace change but learn to accept the things you cannot, and you will become an infinitely better player for it.

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