So you are going along, doing your thing in your favorite game, having a good time and enjoying yourself. Then some jerk beats you and teabags your dead character. Immediately feelings of rage and a desire for vengeance fills your mind and body. “I must get him back for that!” you think to yourself.
In this moment, you’ve become distracted, less happy, and significantly hindered in your ability to play at the top of your game. You have gone on “tilt.” Tilt is a word I learned playing online poker for a living a few years ago. Tilt means acting irrationally after suffering a setback. Tilt is just as bad of a thing for a gamer as it is for a poker player. Tilt is often the same thing as raging, and we all know that when someone(including ourselves) is raging they are acting irrationally and not like their normal self. Tilt however can be negative emotions other than anger/rage, such as feeling depressed after a loss.
When something you don’t like happens when you are playing a competitive game and you let your negative thoughts and emotions run wild, you are on tilt, and you are definitely not playing your best. The most common thing for most people to do when they get on tilt is to just keep playing. In this state of mind, you want relief from the negative feelings you are experiencing, and what could be more normal?
So, you are on tilt and want to feel better. We’ve all been there. What do you personally do when you get on tilt? You might keep playing and try to score a win to feel better. You might try to get revenge on the person or group who did the thing that made you mad. You might start trolling. I would be willing to bet however that more than 95% of players won’t do the most effective thing to reduce their tilt, feel better, and return to their optimal gaming mind state.
What is the best thing to do when you rage or get on tilt? The answer to this will be a little different for everyone, and it is up to each of us as improvement-minded gamers to discover and develop our ability to recover from a negative mindset as quickly as possible so that we can perform our best when it counts.
Some effective ways to do this are to stop playing for a moment and:
- take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to relax about it
- realize that whatever someone else did is ultimately not about you and let it go
- make a strong-willed choice to completely stop thinking about what put you on tilt/rage and just let it go
- do a set or two of push ups or other quick exercise to expend some of the adrenaline from being angry and take your mind off of what upset you
- do a two-minute meditation that helps you to let go of negative emotions
- forgive yourself for making a mistake or the other person for doing something offensive
- punch a pillow a few times
Use whatever method you feel will work best for you. The most important thing is that you become self-aware enough to realize when you are on tilt or raging and set a strong intention that when it happens you will stop and deal with it instead of continuing to play in a less than optimal state of mind. If you just keep playing and neglect to deal with the negative emotion, the emotion will fester and severely distract you from your moment-to-moment play.
To play your best you need a clear and focused mind, free of distractions and disturbances. A very important part of being a high level gamer or other type of athlete is learning how to manage your emotions for optimal performance. In the comments section, let us know your favorite way of dealing with tilt or rage when you play.