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6 Ways to Control Gamer Rage and Get Less Mad at Video Games

Learn how you can control gamer rage and build a healthier relationship with video games by implementing these practical tips.

Gaming can be a major outlet for stress, but it’s also easy to get frustrated by games. Difficult puzzles, tough boss fights, and unfair online matchups can all trigger some intense anger if you’re not careful, and that anger can take all of the fun and relaxation out of playing your favorite games.

We’re all about helping folks maintain a healthy relationship with gaming and get the most benefits out of the hobby. That’s why we always encourage addressing gamer rage as soon as you spot it and finding constructive ways to process anger and other strong emotions. If you’re asking yourself, “Why do I get so mad at video games?” this might be the article for you!

How to Manage Gaming Anger

1. Keep a Mood Journal


Managing gamer rage starts with addressing the root of anger in your life. If you struggle with gaming-related anger, chances are good that other aspects of your life may be making you feel overwhelmed and frustrated as well. Keeping a mood journal — a detailed log of how you feel throughout the day — can help you get a clear picture of where your anger comes from.

A mood journal shouldn’t be a chore to maintain. You don’t have to write detailed descriptions of how you feel at every moment of the day. Just make an entry whenever you notice some powerful emotions coming on. Follow this template for each entry:

  • What led up to this feeling in the last day? In the last week?
  • What thoughts am I having that accompany this feeling?
  • What urges am I having in response to this feeling?
  • Do these urges feel unhelpful to me long term? If so, what can I do instead? What would be the opposite of the urges I’m having?
  • What plan can I put in place to try the behavior that’s the opposite of my unhelpful urges? Day, time, any particular place or people involved?

Answering these questions helps you reflect on your feelings in an objective way and may give you insight into the root causes behind gamer rage. While it might be tough at first to pause and reflect on the source of your anger, it can quickly become a life-changing habit. It’s important that you write your answers out, don’t just think through them. Writing will help get you out of your head.

2. Process Your Feelings With Others

hero journey club

You don’t have to deal with gamer rage on your own. Persistently suppressing your anger can be extremely isolating, and loneliness can lead to even more anger and other negative emotions. That’s why we always recommend connecting with other gamers who understand the struggle in a supportive, inclusive environment.

Remember, though, that simply venting isn’t always the best way to deal with anger. Instead, consider joining a support group, where you can find new ways to respond to your emotions with both professional and peer support.

Hero Journey Club support groups meet weekly within games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, and these groups are the perfect spaces to build up your anger management toolbox.

Hero Journey Club groups are led by guides who share your love for gaming. In addition to your group leader, you can count on other members to empathize with you, encourage you, and help you be the best you can be.

Sign up for your first session today.

3. Get Outdoors

outdoors mountains

Remember when the Nintendo Wii used to give you a little pop-up message after you’d played for a while?

“Why not take a break? You can pause the game by pressing +”

Taking a break from gaming to get some exercise can change your life if you make it a habit. Even a walk (maybe with some Pokemon GO thrown in!) gives you a better perspective on life and gets you into a new, refreshing environment.

Some of the best times to work out are before or after gaming. Exercising before gaming helps clear your head and may lessen gamer rage, while working out after gaming can help with any frustration you might experience while playing. Either way, including some exercise in your daily routine is one of the best ways to clear your head.

4. See a Therapist

Therapy can benefit everybody. It takes boldness and strength to recognize that you need support in reaching your goals, and that’s where a therapist comes in.

Finding a therapist who specializes in anger management can transform your relationship with video games — and life in general. Through treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you and your therapist can identify sources of anger in your life and find new ways for you to cope with your emotions. As a result, you can expect to feel happier, healthier, and more balanced.

5. Evaluate Your Favorite Games

hollow knight screenshot

Some games are more rage-inducing than others. We’re talking about Dark Souls, Hollow Knight, Cuphead, Ninja Gaiden, and plenty of others. Some competitive games, like Valorant and League of Legends, can drive your emotions out of control even more. These games can be fun and rewarding, but they’re also insanely difficult at times. If you’re tempted to throw your controller at the wall every time you play, it might be time to choose a different game.

We know how hard walking away from a specific game can be, especially if you’ve found yourself immersed in its rich world. We’ve all been there, but it’s often better to just enjoy games than experience rage because of their difficulty or competitiveness.

Here’s the thing, though: There’s a delicate balance between benefitting from playing tough games and pushing yourself too far with them. For example, Hollow Knight can be extremely difficult at times, but it’s also a rewarding platformer with incredible art and gorgeous music. Shifting more attention to the journey and de-emphasizing the importance of every single achievement, may help remind you that the joy of the game is what happens along the way.

If you can find a game that is relentlessly tough but also fun and immersive, that could be a big win overall. Just be on the lookout for gamer rage and know when to take a break!

6.Find New Outlets

group playing music instruments

Gaming can be an amazing way to relieve stress, but it shouldn’t be your only outlet in life. Other habits and hobbies can complement gaming, giving you a well-rounded set of favorite things to do.

There are plenty of directions you can go when looking for a new way to let off some steam, including:

  • Learning how to play an instrument (playing drums can be especially cathartic)
  • Cooking or baking, especially with friends or a partner
  • Playing board games or card games
  • Joining a Dungeons & Dragons campaign
  • Getting involved in martial arts like jiu-jitsu or karate
  • Walking or hiking on trails near where you live
  • Laugh. Learning to laugh at failure, can help reframe it as a stimulating challenge and an opportunity to grow

All of these hobbies can be both challenging and rewarding, and they’re also reliable sources of stress relief. As you find new activities that you love, you’ll still have plenty of room to enjoy gaming, but you may find that your gamer rage gradually lessens over time.

What If I Can’t Stop Getting Mad at Video Games?

If gamer rage is a long-term struggle for you, we think the best place to start could be a short-term pause from high-stakes gaming altogether. Sometimes, stepping away from those kinds of games gives you some time to refresh your perspective and focus on other aspects of life, especially if these games are played with others that you’d like to continue to have a relationship with.

So, if you take a pause on gaming, how long should it be? The answer to this question depends on your current relationship with video games. To figure out how long your break should be, ask yourself:

  • How many hours do I play per day?
  • Do I consistently get mad or rage quit when playing?
  • When was the last time I spent an equal amount of hours on another hobby?
  • How is gaming affecting my relationships with friends and family right now?
  • Is gaming stopping me from taking care of important responsibilities?

If the answers to these questions bother you and make you want to change, we recommend taking at least a few weeks off of gaming to focus on self-improvement and anger management. During this time, working with a therapist or support group can make a major positive difference, as can exercise, spending time with friends and family, and finding new outlets for your emotions.

Wrapping Up

Gamer rage is such a common struggle that it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t experienced it from time to time. That means you’re not alone if you deal with gaming-related anger. There are plenty of resources out there for you, including support groups, therapy, your friends and family, and even nature to help you reset and come back to your favorite games with a fresh perspective.


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