I have been a fan of gambling for many years, and put in quite the effort to ensure I was familiar with all strategies and rules involved in the different games available to play.
However, knowledge of the rules and strategy is just a quarter of the battle won; you still need to be able to stay focused and calm to ensure you don’t end up with an outrageous loss. And only after I stumbled into the world of meditation did I realize the power that this tool had!
When it comes to improving your focus levels, one word that you find being used increasingly is meditation. Does meditation help boost your focus levels and, therefore, your gambling performance? The answer is a resounding yes!
What is Meditation?
Wikipedia defines meditation as ‘a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.’
Meditation is not bound to religion, contrary to popular belief. It is one of the things people nowadays do to improve quality of life, focus and stability.
Validation of the Use of Meditation in Boosting Gambling Performance
As mentioned earlier, we have heard quite a bit in recent times – from magazines and portals as well as from established professionals, e.g. poker pro Daniel Negreanu – about the positive impact of meditation on gambling performance.
The first question that comes to mind is whether this is even real. The answer is that it is. A fair bit of research has been done to determine the effects of meditation on gambling. However, most of it has been directed at identifying the possibility of using meditation as a tool to help problem gamblers.
The results are all positive – one study by Tony Toneatto of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Lisa Vettese, Department of Psychiatry and Linda Nguyen, Faculty of Nursing all from the University of Toronto said:
“Given the prominence of distorted thinking among problem gamblers and the difficulty in modifying them, mindfulness meditation holds promise as an adjunctive intervention to help problem gamblers learn to cope with gambling-relevant cognitive distortions.”
Benefits of Using Meditation to Boost Gambling Performance
Here are some of the key benefits that gamblers can experience when they meditate before playing.
Meditation calms you down and reduces anxiety levels. Gambling brings out in us a whole spectrum of emotions – from the exhilaration of a win to the anxiety of a loss to the frustration of a losing streak.
An overdose of negative emotions triggers stress. Meditation has a direct positive impact by helping you calm down and reduce stress levels. This has been borne out by numerous studies.
Meditation allows you to sleep better. It is important for every gambler to stay fresh and alert before they get down to the business of gambling, especially those who play skill-based games.
Meditation is a big help in this aspect as well, because studies have proven that meditation helps manage and regulate sleep for individuals. Here are a few ways it does this:
- Improves rapid eye movement (REM) and slow wave sleep (SWS)
- Allows you to experience more sleep cycles
- Regulates the hypothalamo pituitary adrenalin (HPA) axis and keeps your catecholamine and cortisone levels in check
Some forms of meditation enable you to retain higher levels of melatonin.
Meditation improves your memory. A good memory is a strong weapon for any gambler. Studies have shown that meditation helps improve memory.
Meditation helps improve concentration levels. A study by the Columbia University School of Professional Studies shows that meditation not only helps improve memory span but also helps increase your concentration levels.
There are other studies as well; one published in Psychological Science, a journal, showed that players who meditated were able to zero in on visual cues faster than the ones in the control group, who were not allowed to meditate.
Strong concentration levels have a big impact on outcomes in blackjack and other skill-based games, and also in a game like video poker.
Meditation helps improve emotional regulation and reduce self-doubt. Meditating is a good way to regulate your emotions. Closing your eyes for a minute and asking yourself to calm down is one of the best ways to bring your emotions under control, for instance.
Players who meditate are also found to be more confident and less self-critical. It is not hard to figure out why: anyone who knows they have the ability to regulate their emotions, improve their memory and focus sharper is bound to have an upsurge in confidence levels as well!
How to Use Meditation as a Tool to Boost Your Gambling Performance?
Now that you know the numerous benefits of meditating before getting down to gambling, the next question that will arise is ‘how do I gamble?’ There is no single answer to this, because different people may figure out different ways of doing it.
However, the core steps remain the same regardless of how you go about meditating. We list these for you here.
- Find a single point to focus on. The best way to do this is to identify a single point in front of you.
- Sit in a comfortable position. Posture plays a strong role when it comes to meditating. Sit comfortably – that doesn’t mean you slouch away – so that you don’t face discomfort while you are meditating.
- Close your eyes. Once you have identified a single point of focus and settled in comfortably, close your eyes. At this point in time, it is important to be able to breathe evenly. There are different breathing techniques you could use, including:
- Inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth
- Inhaling, holding your breath and then exhaling, for a uniform number of counts
- Focus and keep your mind steady. This is the slightly tricky part, because your mind will initially refuse to stay still. You will need to refocus and stop your mind from wandering.
By the way, there is no set time limit on meditation. You could do it for just 5 minutes, or you could do it for an hour! The key is to ensure you do it well and stay focused all through.
A lot of practitioners say a good way is to start out with meditating for smaller time periods, say 2-3 minutes and then gradually increasing that time period. Once you have fine-tuned your meditation skills, log in to play your favorite games and win real money
Beyond Pre-Game Meditation: Focusing During a Game
Meditating before a game is a great way to ensure you stay focused, up your positive energy and concentration levels and reduce your anxiety and stress. However, how do you stay focused during a game?
That is a good question, because it would certainly look odd if, in the middle of a game, you shut your eyes and started meditating because your focus levels were depleting!
The best way to deal with a situation like this is to take a few deep breaths, drink a little water and set your focus on one single aspect of the environment around you. These could be anything, including:
- Your breathing pattern
- Any specific sound in the environment
- The feel of the dice in your hands
- The dealer’s hand as she/he deals
The idea is to bring all your energies and attention on a single object or element, which is why what you are focusing on really doesn’t matter.
Other Keys to Good Gambling
Increasing your focus through meditation is a great way of enhancing your ability to concentrate when playing casino games, but it is not the only thing that can help you.
To excel in skill-based games you will need to master the betting strategies and rules of the game. And you must have thorough knowledge of the odds involved in a game and the various ways you could swing them in your favor.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.