Beating Minecraft Addiction
Many people suffer from addiction to video games which prevents them from achieving their goals and living a fulfilling life. Minecraft is a major culprit in sapping the time of gamers, so in this article, we are going to explain the most effective ways to beat your Minecraft addiction.
What Makes Minecraft So Addictive?
Minecraft’s popularity is something to behold. Having sold over 200 million copies worldwide with roughly 131 million monthly users the fanbase is so large that video game addiction is becoming a real problem. The average child has a 3-10% chance of developing “internet gaming disorder” also known as video game addiction. If we do some quick maths the statistics are quite shocking. Over 10 million cases of video game addiction worldwide and that’s not considering adults and other video games. But what is it about Minecraft that makes it so addictive and good at captivating the masses?
There is a large portion of the gaming community that play video games to escape negative circumstances in their life. It could be stress from work or school, bullying or negative emotions such as anxiety and depression. Irrespective of the reason Minecraft drops the player into an immersive and beautiful pixelated world where they can let their imagination guide them. Players can survive and adventure across a vast world with numerous different biomes all with the complete freedom to build, break, craft and interact with everything they come across.
Minecraft also makes it easy to install free and essentially infinite amounts of content in the form of mod packs made by talented players and developers. Bearing this in mind it’s easier to see how someone going through a difficult situation would rather spend their time here than in the real world.
It’s not always this dark as many players also use Minecraft to relax and unwind but the point is too much escapism can have negative effects as well as addiction to video games.
Anyone who plays Minecraft knows the joys of competing in a frantic game of bedwars with their friends or building a house together on a survival server. The game provides a safe and fun social space for people of similar interests to do what they love so much together. However, the problem with this is that social interaction is a human need and most multiplayer games such as this tap into this desire to be with one another. Hence it makes us spend more time playing video games just to socialise.
Sense of Challenge
Minecraft’s freedom to create whatever you want gives rise to a plethora of ways for players to compete against one another. Be it PvP, speedrunning, hardcore survival you name it. Players can practice for hours and strive to be the best at their desired niche. Again this comes at the price of being very addictive to people who love competition and gratification. Playing video games such as Minecraft provides challenges that have a low barrier to entry and are relatively achievable. By walking this fine line between challenging and satisfying they find the sweet spot that makes gamers feel like they can’t get enough.
Signs of Minecraft Addiction
Here we are going to explain some of the main symptoms that you might be experiencing if you are addicted to Minecraft. A lot of these symptoms are applicable to other video game addictions too so if you are experiencing some of these then it’s important to reflect and get help if necessary.
Obsessively Thinking About Minecraft
During the day it’s nice to look forward to the fun things we have planned to do in the evenings, but if you find Minecraft plaguing your thoughts all day then it is likely becoming an obsession. Some gamers will attempt to justify it by explaining that they are passionate about the game. There is a fine line between passion and obsession and some gamers may genuinely be so. However, if thinking about Minecraft begins to distract from your work, school or social life then it is likely to be an obsession.
For example, when sitting in a social setting but zone out to think about playing Minecraft this could be seen as obsessive. If you can’t concentrate at work or begin to lose focus in class due to fantasizing about playing then this is also obsessive. If the entire workday is devoted to playing Minecraft with no clear goals in sight, then again this is obsessive and it might be time to seek help.
Low Energy and Motivation To Do Anything Else
A common symptom of video game addiction is low energy and motivation to do anything other than playing video games. When we apply this to Minecraft addiction if you find yourself only motivated to play Minecraft during the day and everything else seems so unappealing then this is likely the product of video game addiction.
Minecraft provides so much stimulation in the form of dopamine and rewards that everything else in our days seem boring and mundane. Nothing else satisfies us the way that playing Minecraft does and hence they seem boring. The problem here is that playing Minecraft, although it may seem different to those addicted, is not the pinnacle of your existence and so it should not be treated as such.
One important thing those recovering from video game addiction must do is relearn their values. Acting in a way consistent with our new healthier values is extremely effective and integral to video game addiction treatment programs.
Lying To Conceal Your Gaming Habits
Addiction typically comes with a great deal of shame, guilt and anxiety which often leads to individuals lying to hide the amount of video games they actually play. Not to mention that amongst those who do not play video games, there is a stigma that it could be embarrassing to be an adult who plays Minecraft given its main demographic.
Ultimately gaming addiction affects millions of people around the world and there is no shame in seeking out help. Addicted gamers often think that with an impulse control issue as simple as playing video games it can be easy to quit alone. Although completely possible their embarrassment can get in the way of finding the help they deserve when they cannot do it alone.
The takeaway here is, be honest, tell others and find help when you need to.
Minecraft Takes Priority Over Other Hobbies
As we have previously mentioned, Minecraft provides so many unique forms of stimulation from social interaction to a challenge. It’s almost impossible to find another single activity that does what Minecraft can with such a low barrier to entry.
Understandably if you notice that old hobbies you used to enjoy just don’t do it anymore and you’d rather be playing Minecraft then we might be dealing with an addiction.
Irritable and Craving Minecraft When Not Playing
Due to all the stimulating effects that playing video games have on our brain, we are left with a very unstable mental state when not playing. Many who suffer from video game addiction get irritable, short-tempered, have poor focus and even feel anxious or depressed when not playing.
This is what usually results in those attempting to quit playing Minecraft relapsing. Video games such as this are scientifically proven to help escape and suppress certain negative emotions. If you’d like to find out more on how to overcome these cravings and sensations please read on
How to Overcome Your Addiction
When it comes to recovering from any addiction the cliche of “admitting that there is a problem is the first step towards recovery” reigns true. In the case of video game addiction, it can be difficult to reflect and acknowledge that there is a problem by yourself. Most cases are often brought up by loved ones such as friends, parents or spouses.
If you are unsure there are a few effective ways to test for video game addiction that we recommend you try to eliminate any doubt.
Identify Your Motivations for Playing Minecraft
Here try to be honest and think about what Minecraft does the most for you. Your interests in Minecraft can often correlate to what stimulates you the most. If you love being immersed and adventuring through biomes, exploring or getting lost in custom maps made by other players; then it could be your need for escapism. Should you be invested in building and creating great structures and artwork within the game then it’s likely you have a desire to see measurable growth and achievement.
Maybe you love the competitive or social side of the game? For some people, it could be multiple reasons or even all of the above and that is perfectly fine. Just be truthful and decisive in your reasons for playing.
Find Alternative Activities
Now that we understand why we play Minecraft we can begin to focus on and replace these needs with healthier alternative activities. Considering that the game provides such a wide variety of satisfaction we will need to take on multiple different activities and build new passions.
- For the competitive side of things, we recommend activities such as martial arts, tennis or chess where you can practice your skills and test them against others in a competitive environment.
- To socialise, try activities such as joining a sports team like football or being part of a dance or performing arts class where you can meet people of similar interests
- In order to see measurable growth and channel that into a healthier outlet, why not learn an instrument, a new language or music production. These are all skills with learning curves that mirror video games.
- Finally, if you used to play video games to relax why not try a low energy activity like learning to cook a simple dish, drawing or reading.
When it comes to finding new activities it can be difficult particularly after being used to gaming all the time. An important thing to remember is that a passion isn’t built overnight. So try to stick at the activities that you choose to give yourself the best opportunity for your passion to grow.
Take a Detox
When we replace what Minecraft used to offer you it also makes sense that we have to take a break from playing it. Detoxing from Minecraft means that we should take a 90-day hiatus from playing Minecraft or consuming any Minecraft related content. That’s not to say that we just quit Minecraft and fill the void with League of Legends or another video game. When we take a break from Minecraft it should include all video games as well.
The purpose of taking this 90-day break is to allow our brains time for dopamine levels to reach a balance again. The addiction to dopamine acquired over long periods of playing Minecraft is a big part of what fuels your addiction so it’s important to undo this. Secondly, during a video game detox, it gives us a good amount of time to gain perspective on our lives.
Many people addicted to video games cannot remember what life was like or what they used to value before gaming. So this break can often lead to great realisations about what you want from life outside of playing video games.
To make the process of detoxing from video games we recommend techniques such as increasing the barrier for entry which we explain more about in our complete guide to video game addiction.
Practice Mindfulness – This step to overcoming your addiction is essential. Mindfulness is incorporated into all modern courses of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is the gold standard when it comes to treating addictions. Mindfulness is concerned with becoming aware of your thoughts, body and sensations you’re feeling in the present moment, all without judging them.
The reason we want to develop this skill is to reduce the effect that your cravings and addictive thoughts have on you. When we practice mindfulness we can become more comfortable and acquainted with our negative thoughts and remove the judgements that used to go along with them. Thus helping us to see them as just thoughts and take power away from them.
When detoxing from video games it’s very likely that you will experience these negative thoughts and cravings so it’s paramount we can ground ourselves and act in a valued way whenever we feel cravings, instead of just relapsing.
Mindfulness can be practised through meditations using guided audio or simply by yourself once you’re confident with it. There are many mindfulness resources and exercises out there such as the raisin exercise or mindful eating. So, don’t be afraid to give it a try.
If you’re struggling with video game addiction or simply wish to cut down, The Mindful Gamer course has compiled the most effective and relevant exercises to help you on your journey to recovery.