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What Is Gamer Rage and 8 Ways To Deal With It

May 10, 2024

Have you ever gotten mad while playing games? It’s such a common experience that there’s a name for it: Gamer rage. It’s especially associated with highly competitive games like Call of Duty or League of Legends, but any game can make you feel intensely frustrated.

Dealing with video game rage – and anger issues overall — in a healthy way can help you support your mental health and stay grounded in real life. Below, we’ll explore the causes of gamer rage and the best ways to keep your gaming sessions from causing harm.

What Is Gamer Rage?

Gamer rage is the casual term used by the gaming community for the extreme anger that you might experience while playing video games. There are quite a few causes for gamer rage, including a broken internet connection, losing a match in a competitive multiplayer game, or getting into a fight over voice chat.

Why Does Gamer Rage Happen?

Gamer rage has no one specific cause — it’s unique to everyone. Knowing what triggers the gaming-related anger for you is one of the most important steps to take toward anger management in everyday life. 

Some of the most common triggers for gamer rage are: 

  • Losing matches in online games
  • Having to restart a quest in an RPG
  • Being made fun of by other players
  • Losing progress due to a lost save 
  • Being distracted by responsibilities in the “real world”

All of these situations can bring the worst out in you while you’re gaming, but there are ways to recognize the signs of rage and deal with them before they bleed into the rest of your life.

How To Recognize Signs of Gamer Rage

One of the keys to recognizing gamer rage is slowing down. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and lose control of your emotions, which can lead to the classic “rage quit” — throwing the controller down and walking away. Before you get to that point, look for the following signs:

  • Pay attention to physical signs of anger like an elevated heart rate, sweating, a clenched jaw, a furrowed brow, tense shoulders, and trouble focusing. 
  • If you’re a beginner in a certain game, look out for the initial frustration that sometimes comes from the learning curve. Remember that no one is a pro from day one. 
  • Be mindful of your emotions when communicating with other players online. People sometimes say hurtful things in-game, which can make you feel disrespected and angry.

8 Ways To Deal With Gamer Rage

While gamer rage can have a big impact on your life, there’s plenty of hope for growth. Use these practices to break out of a cycle of gaming-related anger and find more peace.

1. Take a Break

It’s easy to get sucked into a game, especially one that you find both challenging and rewarding. However, playing for too long can lead to frustration, especially when you end up stuck in a boss fight, can’t solve a puzzle, or keep dying, respawning, and losing your progress.

One way to stop these challenges from getting into your head is to spend some time outside of the game and then come back with a fresh perspective. That way, you can reset your mind and potentially have better luck with a difficult part of a game. 

2. Lower the Difficulty

Sometimes, games are legitimately hard. Hollow Knight, The Binding of Isaac, and Dark Souls all immediately come to mind. Some of these games don’t have adjustable difficulty settings, but others give you a chance to make things easier on yourself if you want. If you’re constantly frustrated with a game, switching from “normal” to “easy” might be the way to go. 

The same goes for multiplayer games, which sometimes let you pair up with players of your skill level rather than seasoned veterans. If you see a matchmaking feature in a game, make sure to take advantage of it to avoid unnecessary frustration. 

3. Set Limits for Yourself

One of the keys to wisdom in life is knowing when to say, “That’s enough.” It’s sometimes a harder skill to implement than you’d think, especially when you’re locked into a game that you love. Having a healthy relationship with your favorite games often means setting time limits, though. The games aren’t the problem — it’s often the mindset that makes the biggest difference.

4. Avoid Stressful Environments

Playing games in a space that stresses you out is never a good idea. The best place to enjoy your favorite games is somewhere calm and relaxing, where you can focus on creativity, community, and everything else that makes gaming so special. 

In addition to avoiding certain environments, it can sometimes be helpful to set boundaries with the people who you play games with as well if you find that certain folks — online or in real life — tend to make you feel hurt when you play, it might be best to peacefully and politely create some distance between yourself and those people. 

5. Try Breathing Exercises

Box breathing is one of our favorite ways to calm down whenever frustration, stress, or fear feels overwhelming. This type of breathing involves a four-second inhale, a four-second hold, and a four-second exhale, followed by a four-second pause. This sequence can help you calm your body and mind when you feel some anger setting in in response to something frustrating in a game.

6. Ask for Help

If you’re struggling with anger, remember that you’re not alone. There are plenty of ways to get help and support when dealing with difficult emotions, including friends, family, and a therapist. A support group where you can talk through how you feel — maybe even a support group that meets in your favorite game — could be extremely helpful, too.

7. Practice Emotional Regulation

There’s always time to slow down, find calm inside of you, and reassess the situation. When you’re focusing on an in-game challenge, it’s easy to forget that you’re in control of your emotions. 

Next time you feel some anger coming on, try to pause, ask yourself how you feel, and try to sense what’s bringing those feelings on. This process of emotional regulation is a valuable tool for gaming-related anger, but it’ll also serve you in just about every other aspect of your life.

8. Explore Bodywork

Bodywork involves finding the physical places that store certain emotions and finding ways to bring healing into those spaces within your body. This process can be emotional, but it’s one of the best ways to confront your anger head-on and feel it leaving the places where you store it up. We often carry tension and strong emotions in the lower back, which you can gently release through stretching, breathwork, massage, and muscle relaxation.

How To Manage Your Emotions Effectively With Therapeutic Gaming

If you’re dealing with gamer rage, one of the best outlets comes within a group of people who understand the struggle. Hero Journey Club pairs you up with a professional and a group of like-minded folks who meet with you weekly within one of your favorite games. In this setting, you can process emotions like anger and frustration in a safe space while enjoying cooperative gaming.

The Benefits of Therapeutic Video Games

Gaming can be incredibly therapeutic and healing — even if you deal with gaming-induced rage sometimes. Hero Journey Club’s weekly groups meet up in games like Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, and Minecraft, all of which give you a chance to flex your creative muscles, unwind, and build community. 

These therapeutic games can help you regulate your emotions, make friends, and find a more constructive side of gaming that brings out the best in you.

Therapist-Led Gaming With Hero Journey Club

When you join a Hero Journey Club group, you have built-in support from a professional therapist and a group of friends who are there to cheer you on and celebrate your wins. With 80-minute sessions each week and connection opportunities between meetings, you can grow, connect, and find the strength inside yourself to better cope with gamer rage and find a healthier relationship with the games you love.

Our Results

Hero Journey Club changes lives! 96 percent of our members report feeling better following a session, and 94 percent tell us that they’ve made some of the deepest connections in their lives. 70 percent reported improvement based on scientifically validated clinical measures after joining.

The Bottom Line

With Hero Journey Club, you’re never alone as you work through the biggest challenges in your life. Your therapist and group have your back, and you’ve got a unique opportunity to play games in a completely new way. 

Sign up for your first session today to see the impact that therapeutic gaming can have on your life.


Control anger before it controls you | APA

Box Breathing: Techniques, Benefits, GIF, and More | Healthline

Breathwork for Beginners: What To Know and How To Get Started | Cleveland Clinic

Gaming well: links between videogames and flourishing mental health | PMC