If you’ve ever played the popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game League of Legends, then chances are you’ve been called a giant “noob” and told to go kill yourself on several occasions. Thanks to the intense, chaotic, and highly competitive nature of the game, players are constantly arguing about their teammate’s skills, or lack thereof. But if you engage in this sort of “toxic behavior,” as it has been termed, you not only deter your teammates from playing better, you could actually be hurting your own performance as well since all you’re probably doing is adding more stress to the situation, which can send your squad in a downward spiral of anger and frustration. So to help you keep a positive attitude and improve your in-game conduct, here are seven tips that are key to staying calm while playing.
7. Don’t Have Unreasonably High Expectations
Of course it’s always nice to win, and there’s a certain satisfaction to be gained from absolutely crushing your opponents, but you really shouldn’t expect that to happen all the time, especially not in high ranking matches. One thing you should expect, however, is to at least have fun. League of Legends is a game after all, and games are meant to be amusing. So don’t expect your teammates to always be pro players who know every facet of the game inside and out; doing so will only lead you down the path of anger and hatred. And, unlike in Star Wars, it won’t grant you any cool Force powers.
6. Acknowledge Your Frustration Before it Gets Out of Hand
When stress levels increase, the fight-or-flight response in our brain starts kicking in. This neurological function happens in the amygdala—the part of the brain responsible for decision making and emotional reactions. If you want to stand a better chance of keeping your cool and thinking clearly, you should try to ensure that everything is going well in your prefrontal cortex where all your conscious thinking takes place. If you realize you’re starting to feel frustrated or angry, consciously acknowledge the emotion. By simply keeping an open dialogue in your head and thinking to yourself something like “wow, I’m really getting worked up about this,” you can completely subvert what might otherwise turn into a potentially self-destructive situation.
5. Try to See Things From a Different Perspective
If you notice your teammates are making what you would consider poor decisions, attempt to see things from their perspective. Perhaps they’re acting on information you’re not aware of such as cloaked characters or abilities on cooldown. You don’t have to try and rationalize every apparent poor choice your teammates make, but reframing the situation will go a long way in helping you maintain low stress levels and stay on your game.
4. Focus on Playing Well Yourself Rather Than Worrying About Teammates
In competitive situations, people often become blind to their own faults and instead choose to focus on the problems surrounding teammates and the overall situation. But if you only focus on what everyone else is doing wrong, you’re really only adding to your own stress and negativity because you’re targeting aspects that are out of your control. Sure, it’s usually great if there’s someone on the team that knows enough to lead and call out objectives, but instead of trying to constantly control your team’s decisions and actions, try simply focusing on your own game and improving it. Even minor advancements in your positioning and map awareness can dramatically improve your chances of winning more games in the long run. If you worry more about identifying and learning from your own mistakes rather than griping about your teammates, chances are you’ll be able to keep a cooler head and think more clearly in hectic situations.
3. Try to Be Optimistic
Completely ignoring all your team’s shortcomings won’t help you get better. But if you can take something away from every mistake and adopt a “never give up” attitude, you’ll probably find that it’s possible to pull more than just a few games out of the fire. Admittedly, this can be a difficult stance to take if you’re a staunch pessimist, so if you find yourself having trouble coming up with inspiring words of encouragement, how about you just stop calling your teammates a bunch of epileptic elephants for starters.
2. Try Breathing Exercises
High stress has physical symptoms associated with it that accompany the mental responses. When you’re stressed out, your breathing moves higher up in your chest and you start taking longer inhales with short, sharp exhales. This would be considered beneficial if you were trying to outrun a predator in the jungle, but not so much if you’re just sitting at your desk playing a computer game. If you find you’re someone who gets worked up pretty easily, try reversing the high stress breathing pattern so that your inhales are shorter and your exhales are prolonged. You should find it much easier to stay calm and relaxed if you discover ways to regulate your breathing.
1. Only Play if You’re in a Good Mood
If you feel like garbage you should expect to play like garbage and probably treat your teammates like garbage too. Your varying moods are brought on by chemicals in your body and brain. To help regulate those chemicals, make sure to eat well, get plenty of rest, and exercise once in a while. Even just a quick bike ride or walk around the block can do wonders for your state of mind. Remember, your health isn’t just important for your lifespan, it’s important for your League of Legends ranking as well.