Posted by: innerfire | March 4, 2012

Dealing with Anxiety

So, I have a lot of anxiety, especially when I play positions other than support in League of Legends. I start feeling sick to my stomach and nervous/shaky. I feel a bit of anxiety even as support in Ranked, especially when I do stupid things I should know better than.

Dealing with Criticism:

Trying to learn a new champion by using them against bots isn’t very useful. You have to learn how to use their abilities against real opponents who move around, use tactics, and build smart, which means playing in normals. The problem is that, especially when you’re learning a new champion or role, normals aren’t as friendly toward testing and learning as they should be (that’s why your normal elo is hidden). You can’t get better without practicing, and not every game will be your best. So, how do you deal with the inevitable criticism?

  • If it isn’t blatant insults and  stupid comments, try to listen to what is being said so you can get better. If people are complaining about your positioning, you’re probably getting caught out or split from the team, which reduces your/their effectiveness. Watch the replay of your game and examine what you did.
  • If they are being a cancer on the community – put them on ignore (the tiny square in a circle button on the tab screen). Listening to them will just make you upset and depressed, and defending yourself is literally “feeding the trolls”. They’re not going to stop being assholes – at most say “be constructive instead of tearing people down” then put them on ignore. Seriously, the moment you get a hint of someone going “gg noobs u fuking suk” on ignore they go. Don’t let negativity into your life – it’s just a game.
  • Report them! You may not think it does much, but the problem is more that there’s a backlog of tribunal cases (have you judged your share lately?) of about 2-3 months. People can, and do, get punished for their actions – and by reporting them you help keep them from hurting other players.

Dealing with the Anxiety:

  • Do warm up exercises before each game. Flex your fingers slowly, then stretch them out as far as they’ll comfortably go. Next, roll your wrists gently clockwise a few times, then reverse direction. Stretch your arms out to the sides as far as you can comfortably go, reaching toward your walls. Flex your arms at the elbow like you’re lifting weights. Flex your arms at the shoulder like you’re flapping wings (slowly.) Arch your back, then slowly release it as you sit up straight. Stand up and stretch yourself toward the ceiling as far as you can. Bend at the waist toward your left side, then the right side, repeating a few times. A few of these between each game while you’re in queue/champion select will help calm your nerves and limber you up to play better.
  • Take a deep breath and meditate. Simple meditation is very easy and quickly calming – close your eyes and listen to your breathing. Take in deep breaths, not quite to the point of filling your lungs, and release it slowly. If thoughts come into your mind, “look” at them for a moment before releasing them – don’t dwell or focus on them, let just them go. That’s all there is to it.
  • Drink tea or another warm drink. Hot cider, peppermint tea, chamomile tea, etc will all help calm your nerves and the warmth will take away the chill you often get from an adrenaline rush. If things are getting really bad, go take a hot shower/bath and relax in the steam and heat.
  • Put on a blanket, grab a teddy bear, put on fingerless gloves. You can make very easy, no-sew fingerless gloves by cutting off the toe part of some old socks.
  • Play a different game or go for a walk. I like games that develop mouse skills (volume warning) but anything that focuses your mind elsewhere will help.

Preventing Anxiety:

  • Losing is normal. Even pros playing at their “tournament level play” will lose games. No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose sometimes. If you lose, you get better as a player – look back on what you could’ve done better, watch the replays, and remember that there is no failure – only more data for science!
  • Lose or win with grace. It’s fine to have fun, but don’t rage, berate, or tear down others. Be the kind of player you’d want to play with – don’t be a cancer on the community. Congratulate the other team, compliment theirs and yours when they do well. Don’t blame “OP champions” or “gg my team sucks”
  •  There is no money on the line, no one will be hurt if you lose, nothing will be lost. It’s just a game – and if you aren’t having fun, stop playing.
  • Other people aren’t an obstacle to overcome – they’re a team to work with, with their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Don’t eat during games. It’ll distract you. Just leave, take a full break away from the game, and enjoy your meal and the wonderful flavors within. FOOD IS TASTY!
  • Get enough sleep, sunlight, exercise, and food.
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