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J.´s Journal


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Hi everybody, this is another Daily Journal. I am 34 years old and I live in Germany. I write it mostly for the purpose of writing, since it helps getting my thoughts in order. So this is the evening of day 2. Yesterday on day 1 I had lots of feeling of loosing something. Although I knew it was ridiculous I felt like I made a huge mistake letting my gaming go. I read in a book instead and went to bed early. The day is no problem, but in the evening I am so used to play games that I feel kind of bored. To be honest it is not so much about the time that I spend with playing video games. It is about the mindset that comes with it. I hardly do anything productive at home and I have so many plans. But after work I rewarded me with playing video games. Whenever I do something productive though I feel so much happier. So I want to have a new routine for the evenings. I would like best to have a responsible way of dealing with video games but the last ten years that didn´t happen, so I will stop trying and quit them alltogether.

While I am writing this, my boyfriends sits in the other room and plays on his Playstation, that doesn´t make things easier. I keep asking myself why I like video games so much. They are all so similar and created for millions of people, so there is no real suprise and I feel like I am part of a machine. And they are expensive, so I´ll save my time and money from now on. 

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Yesterday I played 2 hours of video games. I had a really good day. I accomplished all the things that I wanted to do. So I did as a reward. It was lots of fun and I set the limit to 2 hours. That worked fine. Afterwards I coouldn´t concentrate so well on my book and today I started working again but like 10% of my mind was still thinking of games. That I will be able to play them again tonight. That´s what I don´t like. I don´t want to perfect my life. I don´t want to start my own business, be productive all the time and I don´t condem doing nothing. I would like to handle video games like most people are handling watching tv or are interested in sports. Both things I don´t do and save me lots of time. So why can´t I achieve using video games like this? Max. two hours a day and only in the evening after having worked.

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1) I think gaming is just a different activity. You play and you try hard and then you get rewards(lvl-up, beating an human enemy, seeing some progress) immediatly. Sports and TV are a more passive entertainment. You will always pay a bill afterwards because you fokus real hard on it. You won't get this energy back. That is why you can't concentrate after gaming. You can't compare gaming with watching tv. You have to compare it wiht other active hobbys like tennis for example. The difference in them is that playing tennis will move your body, wich leads to healthier lifestyle.

2) Gaming is in my opinion this way because the built in rewards are so clever. You get permanent instanious rewards. If you play too often your brain get used to these rewards and creates urges. These urges let you think about games, even if you actually want to fokus on somethign else like working. Many of us do this 90day detox to rewire our brain in a way, that it doesn't expects these urges anymore. I'm sure many people can play on a regular basis after they did this without influencing their life in any way. But most of them who finished it, found other things they liked more then gaming. And i don't mind necessarily a perfect life. I mean something like gooing to do sports after work because it makes you happy. Things like meeting with friends more often and talk.

 

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Thanks for your reply, WorkInProgress. I wish there were more games that are not designed so that you always keep playing them. While playing I often notice how i am being controlled to do certain things. Tonight I am going to a birthday party, so today is save. And I am really looking forward to it. 

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So, I consider this day 2 of my detox. Yesterday was kind of hard. I wouldn´t have thought that it makes such a big difference to play a game. My mind was immediatly back to my old routine. I have to remember that. It happened to me before that whenever I was bot playing for some days, I didn´t believe myself that playing one game would make a difference. Yesterday I played some guitar, learned a new song, read in "The Slight Edge" (good book, but the author kind of repeats himself a lot :D) and went to birthday party where I hardly knew anybody. It was fun. In my hometown, the weather became suddenly sunny after weeks of grey clouds. It reminds me of the spring and how much different life in the sun can be. Looking for that. Have a good day, my fellow game quitters!

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Hey Johebe. The difference with sports or TV and activities like that is the way our brain interacts with them vs. how it interacts with gaming. Most of the problem with gaming is the INTENSITY of gaming and how your brain gets used to that level of stimulation, so you end up being preoccupied with it when you're not gaming, for example. This is why we recommend 90 days - it's the amount of time generally that your brain needs to come back to normal dopamine sensitivity levels. In doing so you might be able to game in more moderation in the future (after the detox), but even then it would be advised to keep it shorter (30 mins instead of 2 hours), because it's in the length of time + intensity that your brain gets used to it and then you can't concentrate on reading a book because to your brain, that's "boring."

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DAY 4

Thanks for your reply, Cam. I feel much better today. I really believe that even small amounts of gaming will make me think a lot about gaming. That is not the case today. I only think of games in the evening, when I feel like I should reward myself for the work of the day. But reading instead or being productive feels just so much better. Every morning I am practising my guitar, which is my job. I haven´t done that for some time now. I am a guitar player and teacher and lately I haven´t played much guitar besides work. I have my bands and a steady teaching job, I could just go on like this. In fact my own old guitar teacher from my hometown does exactly that and everybody can see that it is not going well with him. 

I am really thankful for how nice it feels to play some songs in the morning and that I am able to do that. I am thankful for the positive energy that most kids that I teach to play the guitar give me. I am thankful for my relationship, that is something that is really working well. 

I would like to become a better guitar player, to understand rhythmic things that always confuse me, to write own songs and start my own musical project instead of just participating in other people´s music. 

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Every time you play guitar or read from your book, make sure you take a minute and feel proud of yourself for doing it. That's the way you will create a positive feedback loop for being "productive" and that encourages you to keep doing it more. :)

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DAY 8

 

I am still on track and that gives me a positive feeling. There was an evening when I was really tempted to play video games: Friday night. Just like the week before. But this time I remembered the not so great saturday I had afterwards and decided to do something different. I already spent time reading and practising guitar so I decided to spend some time using a music making program (Logic Pro) on my computer that I had installed for a long time and never figured out how to properly use it. That was lots of fun. Two hours went by really quickly and I had lots of ideas with the different sounds in the program and learned how to use it. There is another thing I want to learn: How to properly use the music notation program I have. I always hand out hand-written music charts to fellow musicians. That has got to change. 

I read regularly "The Slight Edge". I like it and think there is a lot of truth in it. I have to admit that I have a history of not liking people that give 100%. I had prejudices about them. It is hard to put into words, it was more like a feeling of "I don´t want to be like them", i was sure those people compulsively act that way and can´t relax. But I have to rethink that. It is holding me back. In fact I admire people that really go for things they really want. And it doesn´t necessarily mean that they are stuck up or lack time for reflection. 

The urge to play video games is still there. I think about it often. I can´t resist to read game-related websites. That doesn´t help. But I am actually safe for the next to weeks. Because the day after tommorrow I will be leaving for a two weeks cruise ship trip with a band. Some weeks ago I thought about which games I should take with me on my laptop, but that won´t happen. I am sure I will find lots of other things to do on the cruise ship on the different locations we are heading to. 

 

There is an app, that I can recommend. It is called "Habit List". I am sure there are other apps that work similarly. I put in "Don´t play videogames" on a daily list, "Gym" on a twice a week list, "Playing guitar" on a daily list and so on. I just like how they numbers are adding up.  It gives me some kind of experience similar to leveling in a video game. So that really works for me :D

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  • 5 years later...

Hey Johebe, great job with all the progress you made. How you changed your thought from negative to positive about people who give 100% was amazing. Wim Hof says if you give it all you'll get it all. Of course I'd add take time to rest and do nothing. If you want some ideas for how to increase your strength to resist gaming let me know. I can offer options that will help. Keep up the good work.

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