Git Gud, Git Mindful
Welcome back to our Git Gud series! We’ve been working our way through some tenets of how to git gud and apply those gaming techniques to real life, and we’ve reached the final installment.
This mini-series is broken up into the following parts:
Thanks to Fern11 for the idea!
It’s our final one and a culmination of them all. One post to rule them all, one post to… summarize everything and make connections between topics like a boss.
Mindfulness is a term that seems to get tossed around a lot recently. Although it may have become a buzzword of sorts, it’s only because it really is such an important concept that people should try and integrate into their everyday lives. We’ve talked about mindfulness before, and some of the benefits of mindfulness in regards to being aware of your mental health and being aware of what your body and brain and telling you, even if you weren’t aware of it before.
As a brief refresher (although I do encourage you to check out the other article), mindfulness is (basically) being consciously aware of yourself, physically and mentally, as you complete tasks and being non-judgmental about your current state. Mindfully eating, for instance, would include focusing on the taste of the food, and the way that it feels against your tongue and teeth and gums as you chew, along with how hot or cold it is, or how the temperature changes while it’s in your mouth. It is the pinnacle of Being In The Moment and Being Aware..
Mindfulness, despite its current status as a buzzword, does have social and emotional benefits. Besides the very-important “being in the moment” bit, one of the most important – and hardest – aspects of mindfulness to internalize is the idea of “non-judgement.” Many times, when people practice meditation, the first time a thought floats by unrelated to the meditation, or the mind wanders, the person immediately jumps to a judgmental stance about not being able to meditate “right.” But mindfulness dictates that the person should acknowledge the thought as a thought, and then let it drift past, instead of focus on it and give it more disruptive power.
Socially, mindfulness can benefit people as it force us to be aware of our own thoughts, feelings, and gut reactions, giving us time to cognitively process what’s going on before simply reacting. I’m sure it’s easy to see how that could be helpful in a social situation.
But what does all this have to do with gaming?
By mindfully applying the our topics from this series, we can become better gamers and, by practicing mindfulness while gaming, can learn to apply these techniques to our physical lives, as well. So let’s take a look back and a look forward.
Way back when we got smart, we talked about how expanding one’s knowledge can help with gaming skills, and then that knowledge can be used to help others and give back to the community. Now, let’s add mindfulness to the mix.
It’s very easy to rage at a game for not being perfect, and to jump on whatever negative bandwagon is hurtling by in order to get clicks and views and be seen as popular and with it, but adding a mindful layer to this can help create a much healthier environment for discussion and reflection on the game.
For instance, tell yourself that for every critique you might have of a game, you need to find one thing it did well. I try to set a minimum number of positive things have to reach before you start venting, and usually I find that the issues with the game are not as bad as I thought. There are a few exceptions and there are certainly games that I’m not a fan of, but I think if we want to be informed gamers, we need to be able to objectively critique and review games.
I had the opportunity to review Lucid Path and Computer Tycoon, and while these games were not perfect, by being mindful of what I like to see in games, and what the game did well, I was able to provide not only myself with a much more enjoyable gaming experience, but also provide a fair-minded review of both games (which you should definitely check out).
Getting creative sometimes means thinking outside the box. For that to happen, sometimes you need to be aware you’re in a box to begin with, and actively step outside it. In gaming, this might mean picking a game from a genre you’ve never tried, or asking a friend for a recommendation. To “know games,” you need to play games, and the wider your experience, the more tools you’ll have when talking/analyzing them.
This might come as a shock, but I never played a real RPGs until Dragon Age: Origins came along, but I tried it and loved it. And there are a variety of games I would not have even heard of until I was blogging, that I love and would never have played had I not taken recommendations from friends and bloggers, including Detroit: Become Human, Spec Ops: The Line and even games like Persona 5 and Greedfall.
My Year of the RPG broadened the way I thought of games even further, and all of this knowledge could then be applied to other games, like problem solving puzzles or needing fast reflexes (and I’m sure my nephews were always glad when Aunt Athena came in to save the day by solving the puzzles in their games).
Planning with Mindfulness
Planning is hard, but as we’ve talked about, we all need to git planning. Even harder might be being mindful of the plan and not letting ourselves run away with ourselves once we’re in the moment. There is a lot of talk about backlogs that come and go, and to-play lists, and the like, but adding a little mindfulness can help people achieve their gaming goals.
Realize what your goals are, and then attainable steps to get there. I’m not talking “beat all the games on my list” kind of goals.
I’m talking “I’m going to play for two hours and then stop” or “I’m going to beat this next boss.” And then, once those milestones are met, stop for the day and consider it a job well done. Your brain will thank you for the success, and you’ll be more motivated to continue working toward your high, lofty goal of playing all the games without feeling so smothered.
Another technique alluded to here is being mindful of your time and your limits. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re an adult with responsibilities, and there are a lot of games out there to play. Scheduling time not only ensures your hobby won’t get brushed aside, but also lets you protect that time for “leisure,” which is important for your own mental health. And be realistic about when and how long you can play, too (see above). Know what you can offer to your hobby, and be okay with that amount. And be okay if that amount changes. We’re people, not machines, after all.
Mind Your Community and Your Body
And finally, be mindful of the thoughts in your head. We are all part of this gaming community, and this community of humans who coexist on this planet. Be patient, both with yourself and others.
Be patient with yourself because raging isn’t healthy, and – at the end of the day – what happens in one game doesn’t majorly impact your life/overall well-being (aka you won’t die if you lose a game). Be patient with others because not everyone plays like you or is as good as you at certain things. Everyone brings their strengths and needs to the table (even you), so be patient and understanding so everyone can have a good time. If you find yourself responding with a “yes, but…” take a moment and see what is distressing you about what the other person is doing.
And finally, be humble and be nice. There is always a score better than yours ,and a score worse than yours, so be happy where you are and don’t judge yourself based on where others are. Help the ones below you, and aspire to be like the ones above you. We’re all here to have a good time. People who are “raging” can’t think clearly, and will make mistakes. Instead, think of a kind, common way to diffuse a situation and move on, for instance, blaming the mechanics. Sometimes steamrollering someone with being RIGHT (or letting someone be steamrollered) is less correct than diffusing the situation so everyone can have a good time.
It’s been a wild few posts, but we’ve explored many aspects of gitting gud and how that can help us be better gamers and better people. I hope you’ve enjoyed this miniseries, and I look forward to hearing about your journeys as well all continue to strive to git gud at games, and git gud at life.
Which of these git gud tips resounded with you the most? Do you practice mindfulness? How else can we work at gitting gud in our community? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
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