At the start of 2020, over 2.4 billion people were playing video games. According to Wired, this is a growth of over 1 billion over the last, five years. With the rise of mobile gaming, that number is only going to go up.
There are a variety of reasons why this digital world is so popular. Some people enjoy competition and social connection while others find gaming as a way to relax. However, playing can be a slippery slope where the gamer falls into addiction.
Worried about video game addiction? Take our quick quiz to find out if you or your loved ones are at risk.
Many gamers treat their playing as escapism from issues going on in their life. The exploits in the digital realm soon gain more viability than those in real life. And, as so, the gamer turns their focus and energy almost exclusively to gaming.
This scenario may seem fanciful, but it is more common than you would think. There has been such an affliction that the World Health Organization recently recognized gaming disorder in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. Attributing that the disorder,
…impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
It’s no surprise that the WHO has made this change with some games being found to be more addictive than heroin according to GQ. All this means that learning how to stop playing video games often takes a more detailed and determined effort. It isn’t a simple choice, but a completely new approach to almost every aspect of life.
But a willingness to follow proven advice and direction can help break this cycle. You won’t find any overly complicated techniques or annoying, empty clichés. The steps are simple, but require a dedication to wanting to make the change.
Simple Steps on How to Stop Playing Video Games
It is important that, when working toward a goal, to identify and name why you want to accomplish this end. The reason for knowing the “why” of your mission is that in the journey to success, there’s always an unexpected challenge or problem that requires an extra ounce of will to overcome. As Simon Sinek explains in his book, Start with Why,
Regardless of WHAT we do in our lives, our WHY—our driving purpose, cause, or belief—never changes.“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek
Despite falling into a negative pattern of video gaming, that doesn’t define who you are. The act of habitual gaming is something you did (WHAT), but re-discovering your passions and motivations in life (WHY) is essential on both how to quit video games and breaking the hold they have on your life.
Relapsing into playing video games is common. So, don’t give up on the first try.
Decrease or Defer
Make a concerted effort to start playing less or taking a break from video games. For the extremely determined, taking a break may evolve into quitting altogether.
But for an initial stage, take our Gaming Test to determine just how addicted you are to playing and which approach would be best for you.
Alternatively, you can just set a date and take a day off from games the following day. You can then try to increase the break to two days and so forth until you stretch it to a point where you’re no longer playing. This can start off quite rough, but, with each passing day, can become easier
But it does require the willpower to stick to the plan and it is easier to cheat yourself.
Substitute and Supplant
Now that you’re playing video games less or not at all, replace that time spent in front of the screen on other ventures. It’s important to have activities that connect with your passions and interest to both fill the void of gaming and push you further in your life goals.
Do you love RPGs and story-based adventure? Take up hiking or biking.
Do you love games that help you to build worlds? Take up metalworking or gardening.
Whatever gives you fulfillment in the digital world, there’s a real-life activity that can do likewise and more.
Retreat to Refresh
Current, human lives are noisier and busier than at any previous point in history. We have more ways to stay connected to each other, but fewer ways to find inner peace.
The ability to remove all distractions and triggering elements is something that is vital to a healthy life. In Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport speaks to this need brilliantly,
…we need solitude to thrive as human beings, and in recent years, without even realizing it, we’ve been systematically reducing this crucial ingredient from our lives… humans are not wired to be constantly wired.“Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport
Our bodies, minds, and spirits are in need of rests and restarts at times. Even if for a few minutes each day, take time to not use any digital devices of any kind. This digital detox will allow you to collect your thoughts and reflect on what you want to accomplish.
Seek out Socialization
Many gamers enjoy the sense of community from video games, especially MMORPG. Replace digital gatherings with those in real life by spending more time with friends and family. Additionally, joining a social club or volunteering in your community are also effective ways to engage and avoid falling back into video games.
Change your Consumption
The things we put into our bodies influence the way we feel, think, and even behave. As the old idiom goes, ‘You are what you eat’, a poor diet can cause our bodies to feel stiff and bogged down to the point that playing video games will seem like the only option.
By eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, drinking water, and cutting down on fatty and greasy foods, our outlook and overall health can improve. Feeling better has an additional benefit of giving us a bit more confidence and allows us to think more clearly.
Write or Web
The allusion of freedom that video games create is an addictive feature. The ability to be someone or something else and escape real life can appear seemingly stress-reducing. But it creates other problems that similar mental getaway do not share.
Writing fiction about the characters in games or the realms they exist in is a creative outlet as well as creating transformative art, which can lead to a new career as detailed in The Atlantic. Web design offers the same attraction of world-building but with more lucrative opportunities. According to Forbes, the average web designer earns over $75,000 a year.
Time to Trash
Perhaps the pull of the digital world is too much for you to resist even with implementing the aforementioned steps. Consider that it might be in your best interest to simply rid yourself of all elements of the gaming from your life.
Delete the games from your devices if they are on a PC or mobile and sell or donate the consoles. By generating a major disruption in your life, you will have the freedom and opportunity to redesign your life and achieve new heights like after the PVP death in an MMORPG!
Quit Video Games For Good
Learning how to stop playing video games so much requires dedication and a measured approach. The negative spiral you find yourself in now is only as fixed as your approach to it. Developing a plan to combat the dependency as soon as possible is the best way to reorient your life in a positive direction.