How Mindfulness Can Make You a Better Online Casino Player
Our guide outlines how mindful casino play could be that unique edge that you’ve been looking for. Gambling mindfully uses centuries-old philosophies and techniques that have been proven to be effective in modern contexts.
Being in total control of mind, body, and spirit can lead to a heightened and more successful casino experience. Read on as we reveal the latest mindfulness techniques that you can use to improve your experience at casinos in Canada.
Table of Contents
- What is Mindfulness?
- Applying Mindfulness to Online Casino Play
- Staying Calm with Mindful Breathing
- Recording and Remembering the Lessons You Learn
- Mindfully Managing an Online Casino Session
- Finding Balance
- Play Mindfully at the Best Online Casinos in Canada
What is Mindfulness?
Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts were influential in promoting mindfulness in the Western world, using it to alleviate a range of psychological issues.
Mindfulness is the ability to clear your mind, control your body and be entirely present and aware. The concept is rooted in the philosophical teachings of the centuries-old Zen Buddhism, but “mindfulness” was initially brought to a Western audience through Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s teachings in the early 1980s.
While Buddhism teaches mindfulness as a skill developed through meditation, Kabat-Zinn developed an eight-week intensive course, with numerous techniques that have filtered through the world and can now be learned for free.
Whether you wish to achieve mindfulness through strict meditation or intensive repetition, there are six key principles you must understand.
Six key principals of mindfulness
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Presence and awareness
Presence in this context refers to being in the moment while awareness refers to your perception of the facts. The importance of being present is that you’ll be able to completely recall your experiences for later reflection.
Purpose and intention
Mindfulness is not effective without a primal motivation driving you. This means you need to find your purpose and the intention of your actions. For mindful casino play, this might be beating stronger poker players or just maintaining your bankroll.
This is a physical series of techniques that can get your body in a place that will aid mindfulness. There’s an abundance of different techniques – it’s up to you to determine which works best for you.
Non-judgement is the concept of preventing yourself from making automatic judgements – those thoughts we have without purposefully thinking. Essentially, we do not have to judge every living moment.
Mindfulness promotes a connection to humans and the environment. There is also a very present spiritual element too. This promotes eco-friendly practices and relationships with other people.
This refers to self-compassion or the idea of overcoming negative experiences through mindfulness. You could use mindfulness to target your feelings when you lose.
Applying Mindfulness to Online Casino Play
Gambling mindfully is certainly a skill you can develop to improve your performance and overall experience. However, mindfulness is a wholly subjective learning experience since so much is based on personal experience. This is unlike any other gambling strategy that usually needs you to at least know how to use math and probability, or how to spot patterns and trends.
The six principles of mindfulness can be applied to playing casino games and betting on sports. For example, imagine how controlling your breathing would drastically aid in your ability to make decisions under pressure when playing competitive poker or blackjack. Essentially, mindful casino play can best be exemplified in the following three ways:
- Staying calm – Making the right decision when playing a casino game is stressful. Imagine choosing between folding and going all-in with everything on the line. Using mindfulness can help you reduce those stress levels, lower your heart rate, and make you think clearly.
- Celebrating the journey – Gambling mindfully is the most effective way of having fun. You’ll treat wins and losses as just part of the experience and learn from those losses rather than getting angry or irresponsible.
- Managing your time – By taking breaks, controlling your breathing and stress levels during longer games, and planning your sessions out, you’ll get more bang for your buck in the allotted time you choose to play. Striking a balance between casino gaming and time away from the tables will make you a better player too.
Staying Calm with Mindful Breathing
Our breathing can influence so much of our body and our minds. Stress, including the physical symptoms of anxiety and nerves can be overcome by controlling your breathing.
Bad decisions, like a bad fold in poker, can occur because of stress, but stopping and taking the time to bring your breathing into check can mitigate that stress. You can also take control of your emotions once you know how to stop and control your breathing. Mindful breathing can stop you from making short-term emotional decisions – such as desperately trying to win back losses when a clearer head would have seen you walk away from the table.
We’ve provided five of the most common mindful breathing techniques that you can try right now to take back control of your mind, body, and spirit.
All mindful breathing techniques require you to be sitting or lying comfortably while maintaining a straight posture. Closing your eyes may also help you to focus on your breath.
Five mindful breathing techniques to help you stay calm
Diaphragmatic breathing (aka “belly breathing”)
This technique decreases your oxygen demand, allowing you to use 100% of your lung capacity. Breathe in slowly through your nose and move your stomach out rather than in. Exhale while tightening your stomach muscles.
This technique is famed for its use by US Navy Seals, as it helps deactivate the fight or flight response. Breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for another count of four, and then exhale for a final count of four. Repeat as necessary.
A technique that has been adopted to manage anxiety; this pattern is also great for unwinding after playing an exhilarating round on a casino game. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight.
The Buddhist Gaṇanā technique (meaning “counting”) has you paying specific mental attention to your breathing. This is achieved by counting your inhales and exhales. How you breathe isn’t super important – you just need to be fixated on the count.
Alternate nostril breathing
The technique might feel a little silly, but it is effective in reducing anxiety and gaining focus. Block one nostril and breathe in through the other. Now block the open nostril and open the initially blocked nostril. Exhale.
Recording and Remembering the Lessons You Learn
The best way to chronicle and continue to develop your mindfulness techniques is by keeping a record of your experiences. This could just be a simple journal or notebook. You should take note of the techniques used or attempted, and what level of success you experienced.
That way, you can see how mindfulness affects your gaming strategies. Furthermore, you can journal your mindfulness experiences alongside your profit and loss records at the casino.
Mindfully Managing an Online Casino Session
We’ve all experienced it, haven’t we? How gambling distorts reality and you lose track of time and money. Gambling mindfully can help in this regard. Online casinos are designed to see players lose track of time. However, mindful techniques can be used to plan and define your play session with great detail.
Having clearly defined goals and a plan to achieve those goals, will ensure your session never gets sidetracked. You can’t fall into a 3-hour roulette session when you have clearly planned to play for 1 hour and have defined your play style and strategy for that session.
The importance of pauses
A key pillar of all mindfulness techniques is self-reflection. When we plan our time, we rarely schedule specific and dedicated time for a break, let alone think about reflecting during a break. By taking a mindful approach to planning your gaming sessions, you’ll think about when you should take breaks and how best to utilize that spare time.
If you planned to play three casino games over one to two hours, you could set aside 10 minutes between each game to reflect upon your decisions and experiences in the last game. Many live dealer casino games allow thousands of players at once – so you can even step back, mid-game, and relax and reflect without losing your seat at the table.
The Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro means tomato in Italy. So, we imagine Italian team leaders are constantly promoting the immense power of tomatoes for beating procrastination. Achieving greater focus and efficiency by overcoming procrastination is what the Pomodoro technique is all about.
The Pomodoro Technique is so called because of a common kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato. It was initially designed as a time management tool for office workers and students, but the principles can easily be applied to mindful casino play. Frequent short breaks make the Pomodoro Technique perfect for any casino game, while the scalability ensures the technique can be used across a variety of session lengths.
The whole technique can be broken down into five simple steps. Think of it as gamified goal setting, where each step is a little win that’ll help you have a better gaming experience, which in turn may lead to more success.
How it’s done
- Choose a casino game. Could be roulette. Could be slots. The choice is yours.
- Set a 25-minute timer and play.
- Continue playing through the 25 minutes.
- Take a five-minute break.
- Repeat the whole sequence.
- For every fourth completion, take a longer break of between 15 – 30 minutes, and reflect on what has gone before.
Using mindfulness to find a balance when gambling is only part of the process. It is also important that you balance your mindful casino play with other meaningful pursuits that enhance your body, mind, and spirit. This can start by playing at eco-friendly Canadian casinos to help reduce your carbon footprint when gambling both online and at land-based facilities.
It’s a good idea to take a mindful approach to other aspects of your life such as work, personal relationships, or just taking care of yourself. You could look for enjoyable outdoor experiences that stimulate the mind and body, or take on a creative endeavour to balance the mind and spirit.
Knowing when to step away
Whether using a casino bonus responsibly or gambling real money responsibly, ensuring you adhere to the basic principles of responsible gambling is paramount to maintaining mindfulness and avoiding financial issues. Mindfulness techniques can be used to help you reflect on your casino play and determine whether you are maintaining responsible practices.
Leading online casinos in Canada will provide several tools to assist in your ability to gamble safely and responsibly. These can include deposit and betting limits which can prevent you from spending more money than you can afford. By placing a maximum deposit limit, you can choose a safe amount and it won’t be possible to exceed this amount.
This applies to bet limits too – you can set a reasonable limit that is below the site’s maximum bet amounts. You can then place small bets that never get out of control and so extend your playtime. Mindful casino play requires breaks, and you can also set timeouts at online casinos. These allow you to stay away from the casino for a little while to take an extended breather.
However, when you’re focused on the tables, it can be easy to forget the signs of problem gambling. Keep an eye out for the following three warning signs that it might be time for you to step away:
- Short temper – Repeated losses with strategies that aren’t going your way can lead to a short temper. You may feel like angrily complaining about the quality of the dealer or the decisions of another player. This is especially problematic if it is a regular occurrence.
- Chasing losses – This is one of the most dangerous traits of problem gambling because it can very quickly lead to substantial financial losses. You should never chase losses because this is when we make rash decisions that aren’t backed by sound reasoning and strategy. Set a limit and stick to it. Gambling mindfully will ensure you walk away when you hit that limit.
- Zero enjoyment – When gambling starts to become solely about the money and you’re no longer actually having fun anymore, it is time to step away. Gaming should always be fun first and financial gain should merely be a pleasant side effect.
Play Mindfully at the Best Online Casinos in Canada
Aiming to reach a high level of mindful casino play is the ultimate way to play at online casinos. You can use a myriad of special techniques to aid in taking control of your emotions and provide tools to best plan your approach and strategy for playing your favourite casino games.
The best and safest way to start testing your newly-learned mindfulness techniques is by playing at any of the highly recommended online casinos in Canada.