Anxiety and video gaming: Is there a link?

May 4, 2018

In my experience, video gaming can be a means of escaping everyday life. Why do we feel the need to escape? What is it about life that we want to get away from? Is it possible that anxiety is running your life? Either in the background or right in front of your face. 

 

So, what is anxiety?

 

While the Oxford Dictionary gives the simple definition, these two quotes go much deeper into what is really causing the anxiety: 


“When one is experiencing anxiety, they do not feel safe to express.” 
~ Michael Benhayon

 

“Anxiety is feeling not equipped to respond to what is in front of you when in fact you are fully equipped. “
~ Serge Benhayon

 

Not feeling safe to express or feeling ill-equipped to deal with life or parts of life could definitely cause a person to worry or become nervous. 

 

In video gaming, for example, MMO’s or open world games, there is much more control because the environment is very limited. Does confining our self to this reality reduce our perception of our ability to handle life outside the game? Feeling perhaps that life is too big and unpredictable for us to handle, so we should stick to our small, controlled, limited, box world. Could it be that we use the repetitious video game actions as a form of meditation or management for our underlining anxiousness? In this way, we repeat something that has a known outcome as opposed to real life where we cannot control other people or situations.

 

When we use coping mechanisms to deal with our anxiety, often these coping tools take us further away from ourselves and our natural ability to be with our body. Each person may have a variety of coping methods depending on their situation, examples could include video games, being racy, using sugar, caffeine, being busy, getting emotional, creating dramas – this list is longer than a loo roll! 

 

Each person is different in the way they experience life and what causes them to feel anxious and this may change throughout a person’s life as they overcome their own unique challenges. I, myself used to be terrified of public speaking but now I’ve developed the skills required so that I don’t find it as nerve-wracking. I am now so comfortable within myself that I not only blog but have my own YouTube channel where I vlog about The Reality of Gaming. This confidence in myself didn’t come overnight but slowly over time grew the more I settled and deepened my connection with myself.

 

Connection to our body is the ultimate key to developing the skills we need to feel safe to express in life. Our body is extremely intelligent and has within it, the wisdom that knows how to be in life. When we only operate using our mind and the mental commentary, it is easy to get lost as we are withdrawing from the greatest part, connection to our body. The mind can have a habit of going off into fantasies or creating pictures that are not present before us, it’s like thinking of what’s for dinner while you’re busy at work. Once connected to ourselves we can actually deal with what is present before us. 
 

A tool that I’ve found helped me with reconnecting to my body was the Gentle Breath MeditationTM, specifically the beating anxiety meditation.

Connecting to the body is very simple, it simply starts with connecting to our own breath. At first, it may not be easy to stay connected as we feel our nervous system going off like fireworks inside us, the raciness we have used for so long can be very disturbing to feel, but the more we connect, the storm passes. Our awareness expands as we realise it’s that steadiness within us that doesknow how to express in life. 

 

When connected to our body, we open up to feeling what is there to be expressed in the moment and when we let that out the anxiousness dissipates. The anxiety was coming from bottling up what was inside us, like the agitated rattling of the lid on the pressure cooker. While in the past to avoid feeling this rattling I turned to video games as a managing and coping method. Today, with a strong connection to my body no coping mechanism or strategy is required. 

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