The importance of gaming focus

It’s easy to lose focus. Especially in a world full of distractions.

In order to perform in a highly competitive esports industry focus is the number one ability you need. Unfortunately, distractions can disrupt your focus making it hard to concentrate.

When you are distracted it becomes much harder to remember information about what the enemy did and you are at higher risk of making mistakes because you won’t be able to take the right decisions.

This article will give you a deeper understanding of how focus works and give you answers to questions like how long you normally can focus and why you can lose focus so easily while gaming.

Why it’s so easy to lose focus while gaming

Gaming is a highly engaging and stimulating activity. However, it’s easy to lose focus while gaming for a variety of reasons.

We all have a limited capacity for focus and it’s impossible to maintain the same level of focus. At some point, we need to rest and go to sleep before we can recharge our cognitive energy which allows us to focus. As you will know later, your focus works in cycles that normally last 90 min. This is not to say, that you lose all your focus after 90 min. But that your internal biology works around these cycles.

When you’re not engaged in the game and start doing other stuff like checking your phone or surfing the internet, you tend to lose focus faster. Make sure to put your phone away and resist any urge to check something when you wait for the next round to start.

Another big factor for losing focus while gaming is your emotions. Your emotions can act as distractions that disrupt your ability to focus and think clearly. For example, if you feel sad or frustrated your mind tends to stay around these negative feelings and it starts to become harder to pay attention to what’s important in the game. With practice, you can learn to handle the distractions that emotions sometimes bring up.

How healthy stress can improve your focus

Many think of stress as something negative, but that’s not always the case. In the context of gaming, stress can actually help boost your focus and concentration. This happens because stress triggers an adrenaline response, causing your visual field to narrow. With a narrowed visual field, you’ll be better to exclude distractions in your surroundings.

You might know from intense clutch situations how your heart rate increases and you are able to let any distractions aside only focusing on what happens on the screen. You have a feeling of processing information much faster and you react without thinking too much. This state is caused by stress and is mostly related to increased performance, but for some, the stress can be too hard to handle and they start worrying about having this intense bodily feeling which leads to decreased performance. Don’t view stress as an enemy, but rather as a gateway to increased focus and performance.

There are many ways you can increase levels of stress in your body. One effective way can be deliberate cold exposure. It stands clear that deliberate cold exposure increases stress levels leading to improved cognitive performance. You can achieve the benefits through cold showers or ice baths.

Enhanced focus

According to a scientific study researchers discovered that focus and concentration more than doubled when participants where exposed to low levels of stress.

Your focus works in 90-minute cycles

For how long can you focus in one session? That’s a great question. You can obviously maintain focus for longer than 90 minutes, but let me tell you something that can give you a new perspective.

Your brain is naturally designed to focus for periods of 90 minutes at a time. This is because many biological processes including sleep, wakefulness, hormone production, and brain wave patterns work around what’s called an ultradian cycle. An ultradian cycle is a physiological pattern that is necessary for your body and brain to function optimally. During one cycle there is a peak in focus and a drop in wakefulness.

After an hour of maximized focus it’s normal that you start feeling distracted. It also gets harder to keep the focus on the same level. Your body might send signals like you have to go to the bathroom or cravings for certain foods. This is your body’s way of telling that it needs a break in order to keep focusing at the same level.

Based on the above knowledge, the best practice for maintaining focus in long gaming sessions would be to take a defocus break in between each game lasting 10-20 min. These breaks help you rebalance your brain’s biological conditions. To maximize the potential, its important not to do anything that requires a lot of concentration during these breaks.

You need to warm up before you can focus

It’s important to know that entering a focused state is a process that takes time to ramp up in intensity. You cannot switch it on instantly as you turn on the light in a room. It’s normal to find a 5-10 minutes transition period before you reach a high level of focus.

What happens during this transition is that you keep refocusing your attention. You increase your focus by refocusing your attention again and again. When you repeatedly engage in the game you activate the neural circuits responsible for focus and concentration.

You might feel, that you don’t have to put in any effort to focus because your motivation for playing is so high. That’s great, but remember that your focus can become even higher.

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