Not sure if you’ve noticed, but the last year and a half have been stressful for pretty much everyone. We have all been dealing with constant changes out of our control. People have tried all sorts of things to cope with these new stresses, with many turning to games to help them unwind after a long day.
One of the most popular games to unwind with is online poker. This might sound unusual or unexpected, but there are plenty of reasons why poker can be great for helping to deal with stress. Of course, poker shouldn’t be treated as a replacement for medication or therapy for those with severe mental health concerns, but it certainly has its benefits.
Learning to Manage Emotions
Successful poker players know how to cope with the highs and lows that come with playing games of chance. Winning one hand doesn’t always translate to success in the following while losing a big pot can be followed immediately by winning an even bigger one. These moments all come with different emotions that must be coped with. Rather than ignore their emotions, great poker players allow themselves to feel without making decisions based on emotions. Accepting these emotions as an unavoidable part of life without letting them dictate our actions is a great tip for handling our mental health, even outside poker.
Set Your Ego Aside
When you set about studying how to win poker games, you find that many of the tips have more to do with mindset than game strategy. Chief among those tips are often setting ego aside, which can be a beneficial thing to learn how to do. Much of our stresses in life come from the expectations we put upon ourselves. When we know how to set those expectations aside and live in the moment, we can not only be better poker players, but we can also learn to manage the stress in our lives better.
Develop Your Concentration Skills
Poker is a game where every hand is a significant learning opportunity. Between calculating odds to figuring out your opponent’s tells and strategy, it is vital not to take a handoff or think too far ahead. That mindfulness and living in the moment is an excellent way to set aside our stresses for a moment. Permitting yourself to focus on the game in its entirety is also an excellent skill to develop in our day-to-day lives. Poker offers ample opportunity to develop that ability in a safe, controlled environment.
You Can Play From Home
For those who have social anxiety, playing an essentially social game while in the comfort of their own home can be crucial. Having one’s coping mechanisms and strategies close at hand can give people the confidence to act in ways that they might be too anxious to try. That is why online poker can substantially impact one’s mental health. It allows for playing in a familiar, safe space, reducing stress without adding more pressure in the process. Starting with small steps and working toward larger ones is a proven coping strategy for social anxiety.
It Can Put Things Into Perspective
Games are important because they allow us to relax and play without pressure from outside forces. Poker is, at its core, a game of chance, meaning that we can’t ultimately influence the outcome. Learning to recognize moments outside our control and accept them as an inevitable part of life is essential for letting go of stress. When we know to laugh at our moments of bad luck rather than dwell on them for hours, we can live in a more mindful, peaceful way with ourselves. We can spend more time enjoying the games we are playing rather than worry about what could have been instead.