Professional gaming and meditation are two things that you wouldn’t necessarily imagine going together. After all, meditation calls for calm and quiet time, while gaming is filled with excitement. However, there are gaming pros who meditate as part of their training, and have results to prove just how helpful it is. There are different kinds of meditation, but all are geared toward helping a person gain an awareness of themselves and others. Mantra meditation, for instance, requires that you focus solely on a certain word or sound –– a very specific action, but one that serves the same purpose as more traditional forms of trance-like meditation. Gamers can even tweak a method like this by, say, concentrating on on their desire to win a given game.
Meditation brings with it plenty of physical health benefits too, such as higher tolerance to difficult situations, improved cardiovascular health, and better quality of rest. On top of these common benefits though, the following are specific perks that gamers will appreciate. ,
It helps gamers stay calm
The nature of meditation keeps the mind focused on the now rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. This can keep players calm amid the excitement and nerves that a game brings. Even during play, they can focus on what they should be doing at the moment rather than fixating on the potential losses or mistakes.
Daigo “The Beast” Umehara is a fighting games icon that even has a fighting game move named after him — the “Daigo Parry,” which surfaced in 2004 during the Evolution Championship Series. Umehara has won a lot of major competitions, including the 2020 Street Fighter tournament. His meditation sessions have helped him reach his legendary status by enabling him to keep his mind calm and prepared for games.
It builds resilience
Playing any game can be straining, especially when things don’t go your way. This can result in various strong emotions such as anger and disappointment. Meditation helps you acknowledge these feelings, and gives you the stability to simply let them pass. This in turn distances you from negative impulses, providing what amounts to instant relief.
Daniel Negreanu, one of the all-time greatest poker players, has won six World Series of Poker bracelets, two World Poker Tour (WPT) titles, and more than $42 million in live tournament cashes. His success spans at least 20 years, and he’s popular for his style of play of risking little and winning a lot. Despite this strategy and success however, Negreanu has still experienced losses. When asked how he handles these losses, he claims to take deep breaths that help him center himself and relieve his body of intense emotions — and as he demonstrates, the more often you do this while gaming, the more resilient you become. Negreanu considers these small moments to himself as short forms of meditation, and he recommends that other gamers do the same to stay grounded.
It improves sound decision-making
Meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation, trains you to listen to your emotions and body. This training can be useful when you make decisions, since it helps you determine whether you feel calm or uncertain. You can start with low-stakes questions such as what to eat for lunch. And the more you practice this feedback loop of listening to your body when making decisions, the easier and faster it becomes, which is helpful when you find yourself making quick decisions in games.
MAD Lions and Rogue, two well-known esports teams in League of Legends tournaments, include mindfulness meditation in their training sessions to improve their decision-making skills. Rogue’s performance coach, Ismael Pedraza, has discussed the team undergoing sessions wherein they were taught attention-focused strategies so as to learn how thoughts and emotions work. This, together with attentional strategies, allows players to improve their control of their thoughts and emotions, and instead focus their energy on making good decisions.
Through all of these examples, we can see that like so many other people doing so many things, competitive gamers also benefit from regular meditation.