Overcoming the Tilt

Psychological Hacks to Overcome Tilting

When Magisk joined Astralis, people weren’t too sure if he’d make a great addition to the team. Sure, he was a world class player and fun to be around, but he was also known to be volatile and lose his cool when things didn’t go his way. When fighting in the first league, you can’t afford for a team member have a meltdown mid-game: you’d lose every time.

Fortunately, Astralis’ new mental coach, ex-Special Ops man and psychologist Lars Robl was there to help the team gel and teach Magisk to control his emotions in the interest of becoming the most efficient player he could possibly be. And look at them, they’re in first place with no sign of giving up their position!

Most of us aren’t playing for half a million a pop and don’t have ex-military men helping us get emotionally and mentally fit, but games still matter and being able to work through difficult situations can make a world of difference when your team is relying on you. Tilting is dreaded, feared but often unavoidable in the heat of battle. There are, however, a few ways you can keep from tilting. Here are some simple psychological hacks anyone can learn and use during a game to level up as a player.

  1. Self-compassion. Do you find yourself rolling your eyes and thinking ‘snowflake’ at the word? Then you’d probably benefit from some self-compassion training. We’re all human and have bad days. Beating yourself up when you’re already losing is not going to help anyone and just going to put more pressure on yourself. Allowing yourself to be bad sometimes, without taking your eyes off the prize, allows you to calm when you’re not performing at your best.
  2. Meta-cognition. Every challenge is an opportunity. Every time you tilt, something has happened in your brain and body that is an indicator of how you process information. Take a moment and try to trace back to where things started to go wrong. Was it something someone said? Is there a move you find difficult? Have you been sleeping badly? Once you know what the problem is, you can work at fixing it.
  3. Be real with yourself. Having a rage attack or becoming frustrated easily is often a sign of sleep deprivation, anxiety or low mood. E-sport pros train like athletes and sleep is one of the top 3 most important things they monitor and take care of. An ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ attitude is likely to lead you to die far more than you need to in-game.
  4. Just stop. Once you’ve tilted, there’s often no going back. You need to call it a day: your body is flooded with stress hormones, your pulse is racing and your brain is telling you to run away. Tomorrow (after a good night sleep and a review of what happened), you’ll probably be at a whole new level.

‘Nuff said, happy gaming!

Silja Litvin is a clinical psychologist, Ph.D. candidate and founder of the award-winning emotional fitness game eQuoo. Deeply immersed in all things gaming,  she also writes for gaming sites and multiple mental health outlets.

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