Picture this: it’s overtime match point on Split and you’re in a 2v5 situation as Brimstone and a teammate playing Sage. Sage has her ultimate, but instead of using the resurrection to even the odds even slightly, she peeks out and dies with the spike to the defender you knew was holding that exact angle. This leaves you in a 1v5 situation and you hear the enemy team closing in on your position. The enemy Cypher over commits and peeks out and you punish him. Adrenaline pumping through your veins you throw your stim beacon down and successfully take out the Jett who flies around the corner expecting to capitalize. With no other indication of another enemy you choose to intelligently smoke out Mid Top, but as soon as you pull out your tactical map, the enemy Raze flies across your screen after launching herself with her blast pack and takes you out with Showstopper.
You died to a Raze...again. You put in work that match, maybe fought back from a deficit, and that’s how this epic comeback ends. What do you do? Do you slam your hand down, spilling your drink all over your keyboard? Do you throw your mouse against the wall, breaking yet another 50+ dollar mouse in the process? Yes, we have all been there, at those moments when we are either getting decimated by the enemy or losing yet another clutch. Even the pros have been what is known as tilted in a match before. There are hundreds, probably even thousands of clips of professional players “losing full” because of the fact that they died to something either preventable or to something that was completely broken. But in those intense situations, how do the pros regain their composure? Even still, some pros are almost impervious to being tilted. How is that even possible?
Well, as someone who has put years of my life into video games, I know exactly where you’re at. But over the past couple of years, I have researched study after study, one article after another, and have realized that tilt is manageable. So in this….uh...essay? I will go into depth on how even the biggest rage-filled gamers can manage when we start to become titled.
First thing’s first, to combat tilting at all, we have to be proactive to help prevent getting frustrated in the first place. Exercise is one of the best ways to be proactive about our mental health. A 2004 study proves that even a single session of exercise reduces anxiety, as well as depression. That being said, not all of us have the time to spend an hour a day to exercise. But an effective amount of exercise can be anything from a light jog, to throwing a frisbee around. It’s more about moving your body, as this releases endorphins which help improve mood. What does this have to do with gaming? Well for one, it helps with motor skills, but we can talk about that in a different article. With an increased amount of endorphins in our brain before we start to play, one can make the connection that we will be able to take on more adrenaline-pumping situations and refrain from becoming tilted. A notable player that cites exercise as a major factor in his performance is the Astralis CS:GO IGL Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz. He even has involved his teammates in this lifestyle choice to help the team perform at the highest levels.
I know this may seem like a no-brainer, but our sleep schedule is vital to proactively prevent tilt. A commonly referenced study from 1997 has shown that even a slight deficit of sleep has massive negative effects on our moods throughout the day. I can speak from experience that if I feel even a little tired, I become very frustrated incredibly faster compared to when I am well-rested. This doesn’t always have to mean that we get a full eight hours of sleep. Especially for dedicated gamers, sleep is generally a secondary thought to the late-night VALORANT session. But a wise person in my life once told me, “Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a nap.” So I force myself to hop off the PC if I am becoming tilted and take a short nap. When I wake up, I feel energized and ready to take on the next lobby of random teammates!
Now, this is something completely from experience, no scientific research, no psychological article to reference, completely from experimenting with things to better myself. Sometimes it’s best to step away from the PC for a few hours, a day, or even a couple of days to mentally reset. You can look at even the biggest streamers, and see that they take constant breaks from video games so they can be healthier mentally. Even playing a different game that doesn’t involve that much effort can help. One of my favorite things to do when taking a break for a day or so is to play Doom 2016. Even still, I love going outside and taking some time for myself so I can be less of a rage head in-game.
After years of researching ways to prevent tilting, here is one thing I know for sure: I still rage. I still have moments where I feel like I might throw my PC out the window and quit playing video games forever. But another thing I have learned is that it is okay to be frustrated sometimes. What is not okay, is allowing that frustration seep into our relationships on and offline. Being frustrated means you want to be better, and are not happy with your current performance. So instead of throwing your mouse at the wall, go for a walk, step away from the computer, or just take a nap! But always remember that all this is meant for you to be better in-game as you also grow yourself outside of VALORANT. Do you think we missed something? Let us know down in the comments about how you prevent yourself from being tilted!
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