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Old 03-06-2012, 12:05 AM   #1
sacha.d
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Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

I play for a living and I've always struggled with this problem. Every time I want to play or know that I should play, I get this strong feeling of anxiety discouraging me from playing. Because of this I never put in a lot of volume, and end up losing skill.

I usually get this feeling at the thought of having to make tough decisions, being put in a tough spot, it's stressful for me. I'm afraid of failing in that area, it's not so much the idea of losing money, I think it's the idea of being stressed that makes me feel anxious and avoid playing. I usually avoid stressful situations in life, I don't deal well with stress.

I expect some of you to say "well poker's not for you", but with that logic I'd be very limited to what I could do in life, since alot of things in life are stressful.

I'm sure many people have this problem when it comes to poker, I'd really appreciate any useful advice.. I don't want to quit poker, I love it, so i've gotta find a way to solve this problem or eles i'll be playing low stakes soon!
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:53 AM   #2
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Wink Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

I also play poker for a living and understand exactly what you mean. I have/had the same anxiety.

Without getting into great detail I have struggled a lot w/ starting anxiety and have a few issues that I thought through, worked through, and wondered if this is the basis for my anxiety:
1) "results oriented" piont of view ...play well and regardless of what the outcome is just know you're playing well. Well, there is *some* truth to that, however the reality in the real world is that we need and expect results, good results, or we question what we're doing...so after much thought about the results oriented theory I now know its mostly just a bunch of BS from text-book poker learners that don't have any, or much, practical expericne. In my case not getting "good" results, meaning -not making as much money as I wanted to can and has caused some anxiety.
2) Maybe its my ego? I think I'm a fairly decent poker player, however sometimes I get into tough spots where the outcome could go either way and I know this casues some anxiety. But I've ask myself is it because of my ego, cause I think I'm pretty good and therefore should be imune? Maybe.
3) Money? Does the anxiety come from wanting to win money, having certain "expectations", maybe. Is my lifestyle or bank roll going to be seriously effected if I loose X amount of money? This does cause some anxiety for me. I think everyone has a different number....if you loose $1,000 bucks how would you feel, how about 5,000 bucks?

4) I wished I could provide a definitive answer, what causes this anxiety? But I can't. Personally it is a combination of factors and not matter how I change my mind set the anxiety is still there. This may be the case for the OP also...maybe it will always be there.
So for me, I have just accepted it as part of who I am as a person. I don't like it and wish I could avoid the feeling, but it doesn't go away. My method of dealing w/ it is just a part of the job that I don't like, I'm sure every person in every occupation has some aspect of thier job they don't like. To me poker is a means, I kinda "like" poker, and actually kinda "enjoy" it sometimes, but make no mistake; its a serious job that I take serious and know what I have to do to remain competitive in this occupation.

best wishes..
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:08 AM   #3
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

I agree with Under_the_Radar on this. While I do believe poker is results oriented, I also know that those results are very long term and that people in general need something more right now. In that sense, being results oriented is good after a log time when looking back, but it doesn't help at all with individual sessions.

Here's what I do:
I usually take two buy ins whenever I play live. No more, no less. That money is money I am fully prepared to lose. I have no attachments to it and fully expect to never see it again, win or lose. If I win it goes into my savings account specifically set up for my poker bankroll. If I lose, it's gone anyway. From there I just try to play my best and exploit my opponents. It's all you can do. There's no point in getting worked up about it because you can't control how things will play out beyond that.

Another thing I do is watch a table for at least a couple orbits and decide whether it's a profitable table or not before sitting down. This helps in the sense of either encouraging me to pull out my laptop and wait for a better game, or by getting me in good spirits since I already have a chance to see some of the other player's flaws I can exploit in time. Perhaps being more involved like this before even playing might discourage your anxiety?
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:25 PM   #4
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

a dram of single-malt scotch should help without affecting your performance in a bad way.
its the water of life.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:58 PM   #5
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Wow had no idea this was a common problem. I suffer from this as well. I find that the less time i spend on thinking that i should play the eaiser it is. I think that a lot of my anxiety actually comes from having expectations of losing and winning ( either that you would feel bad about it or happy winning ). When im in a state of mind where im in acceptance, then all this seems to be a much smaller problem.
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Old 03-07-2012, 06:08 PM   #6
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General...xiety_disorder
http://www.calmclinic.com/

My Anxiety is getting worse every day and I'm going to seek professional help ASAP, right now I'm feeling awful, so I'm going to keep this post short.

http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety-test/ scored 81 here.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:44 AM   #7
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Thanks for the advice!

I think it has alot to do with my ego. It causes me stress when someone's constantly playing back at me and winning every pot, especially when it's a bad reg. Losing money is not the reason for my anxiety. After I lose a few pots to the same person, I feel as if my opponent has the feeling that he's better than me! My fragile ego get's annoyed by situations like that, and it stresses me out.

I don't know.. I think it should get better with time.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:49 AM   #8
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeisgood111 View Post
Wow had no idea this was a common problem. I suffer from this as well. I find that the less time i spend on thinking that i should play the eaiser it is. I think that a lot of my anxiety actually comes from having expectations of losing and winning ( either that you would feel bad about it or happy winning ). When im in a state of mind where im in acceptance, then all this seems to be a much smaller problem.

Exactly. I also found the faster I start my session, the better, I spend too much time mentally preparing myself before starting my sessions. I've gotta just accept that this problem won't go away by constantly stressing myself out and thinking about it.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:51 PM   #9
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Some really good advice in this thread. Ever since bf i have talked myself out of going to the casinos (LA) countless times. I am a winner in the low stakes up to 3/5 (300nl) and it is without question costing me $$ by sitting @ home. Excuses range from long work hours to spending time w gf...whatever that i can rationalize it would be "better" to not play.

Well...i realize that my excuses are just that. I overthink and get anxious and think I've found some steps to get my ass in the building: stop thinking and just go on autopilot until i'm in the parking lot--park, sit there and take some deep breaths and try to laugh at my neurotic self (it's a GAME), put things in perspective (this session will not be life changing, unless i bink the 100k bbj ), and set my goal to make the best decisions at the table then walk mg ass in.

It has been working for me, mainly the reduction of overthinking both to help get me there in the seat and during the game itself.

Poker is fun, exciting, frustrating, and challenging...that's why we play ...
T.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:10 PM   #10
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Quote:
Originally Posted by sacha.d View Post
I usually get this feeling at the thought of having to make tough decisions, being put in a tough spot, it's stressful for me. I'm afraid of failing in that area, it's not so much the idea of losing money, I think it's the idea of being stressed that makes me feel anxious and avoid playing. I usually avoid stressful situations in life, I don't deal well with stress.
Personally I would try to look at these situations differently. Getting put into tough spots isn't "failing," it's learning and growing as a player.

Try to observe the effect your opponent is having on you from a more detached standpoint. Why does X make things so difficult, why do you hate it when villain does Y? And then learn how to incorporate similar strategies into your own game, and start stressing out your opponents instead. Also post-play review obv, to figure out better ways to respond to the difficult situations you're running into in the future. I think if you feel more prepared to handle spots that were difficult for you last time, you might feel better going in.

Also like you said, you don't deal well with stress - but a lot of situations in life are stressful! So it seems like it'd be a good idea to work on your stress responses in general, not just about poker. Maybe look into strategies for calming down when you're feeling stressed - deep breathing or whatever.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sacha.d View Post
I think it has alot to do with my ego. It causes me stress when someone's constantly playing back at me and winning every pot, especially when it's a bad reg. Losing money is not the reason for my anxiety. After I lose a few pots to the same person, I feel as if my opponent has the feeling that he's better than me! My fragile ego get's annoyed by situations like that, and it stresses me out.
Unless you are somehow operating under the delusion that you're the best poker player in the world, running into people "better than you" really shouldn't cause such cognitive dissonance. Treat it as a learning experience. You can do 100 things better poker-wise than someone, and view them as a "bad reg;" them finding and exploiting a single hole in your game (or whatever) shouldn't suddenly be an assault on your sense of self. Unless you view yourself and your game as already perfect, you should train yourself to be HAPPY about these situations. "Nice, today I found an area that needs improvement! Getting better all the time."

Best of luck with things. I know it's pretty much impossible to get rid of some emotions simply by trying to reason them away, but I think training yourself to think differently about things can go a long way towards helping. “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”
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Old 03-09-2012, 04:09 PM   #11
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Anxiety is normal.
Don't fool yourself into thinking it isnt...then play anyway!
Good luck!
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:51 PM   #12
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Do you mean live or online?
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:48 AM   #13
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

i do remember this feeling many years ago! this feeling will pass over time! you will become more confidant numbing the feeling!
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:50 PM   #14
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

We all get anxious before we play. I think for me it stems from the fact that there are so many variables outside of our control. No matter how long we play our A game, the short term results are totally outside of our hands. Last night I went 2-11 and had to drop down a level for the first time in a long time.

I started second guessing myself and I would normally have been scared to play today. Fortunately, after I went over my results, I could only find 2 places where I might've done something different than I'd done. This usually satisfies me.
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:08 PM   #15
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kloonike View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General...xiety_disorder
http://www.calmclinic.com/

My Anxiety is getting worse every day and I'm going to seek professional help ASAP, right now I'm feeling awful, so I'm going to keep this post short.

http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety-test/ scored 81 here.
My anxiety has also been getting worse, not only poker anxiety. I constantly worry, my heart beats fast, I feel stressed, I get racing thoughts (especially when sleeping. I's been awful

Have you found anything to help with your anxiety?
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:53 PM   #16
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

^ yes i did get bad anxiety but now i have reduced it. Meditation worked for me. When ever i got really anxious/worried i would find a quiet area and clear my head, focus and concentrate on clearing my head to a blank state and then the worrying etc stopped.

i now only have a minor anxiety problem which is very easy for me to manage now. So any questions just ask. Just remember its a game, Relax.

Last edited by L wanderer; 03-18-2012 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:42 AM   #17
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Quote:
Originally Posted by sacha.d View Post
My anxiety has also been getting worse, not only poker anxiety. I constantly worry, my heart beats fast, I feel stressed, I get racing thoughts (especially when sleeping. I's been awful

Have you found anything to help with your anxiety?
I went to a psychiatrist and got some antidepressants. The doc said I actually don't have anxiety problems, but ADHD that causes me anxiety because I'm stressed about not being able to concentrate. I don't think it was a right diagnosis, because I was prescribed bupropion and it made me feel horrible. Now I'm only taking sertraline (for 11 days so far) and I can tell that I feel "less edgy" etc. It takes 2-4 weeks to start feeling the full effect of the meds, but I'm definitely noticing improvement so far.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:51 PM   #18
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Quote:
Originally Posted by sacha.d View Post
My anxiety has also been getting worse, not only poker anxiety. I constantly worry, my heart beats fast, I feel stressed, I get racing thoughts (especially when sleeping. I's been awful

Have you found anything to help with your anxiety?
I play for a living, and have had horribad problems with anxiety.
panic attacks, the whole deal. oddly, ive gotten them way worse from things not poker related. Ive had to take off a ton of time from playing because of these problems, which have been getting much much better lately, though.
like you, ive struggled with getting in enough hours more than other leaks.
when i look at my winrate, and my 20 hour a week average over 1 1/2 years, i wince at how well i'd be off if i could have put in 30 hours a week during this time, and been able to play as well.

what tips me off about your problem, OP, which sounds exactly what ive gone through my entire life is when you mention 'racing thoughts'.
it's like your mind is going a mile a minute, you cant control what youre thinking about, you focus on one thing that bothers you for what seems like forever, and later you figure out it was over nothing.
It's a feeling like youre crawling out of your skin.

what worked for me in solving a myriad of health problems that i had that i thought were all unrelated;
skin problems, digestive problems, anxiety, achy joints, tingling numb arm, twitchy eye, sleep problems, weight loss, the list goes on and on. Different ppl get different symptoms, and some can be 'opposites'. some get weight loss, some weight gain. some insomnia, some get narcolepsy.
as it turns out, i have a serious autoimmune condition thats caused by an environmental trigger, and that trigger is gluten;all of these problems are resolving for me on a gluten free diet!
gluten is a proten found only in wheat and barley, and is actually only one out of 100s of proteins found in those grains.

one 21 year old kid posted on 2+2 about his anxiety problem, and it sounded just like what i went through.
I PMed him suggesting he try avoiding gluten for a week or two, and seeing what happens.
he PMed me back less than a week later "dude, you saved my life".

because wheat is 'food' most people refuse to believe it can do all these bad things to you. but just research it and find out if youre skeptical.
google > gluten anxiety panic attacks; you will find a ton of stuff.
there are legit medical studies from mayo clinic, john hopkins, columbia U (dr. greene there is a leading expert)
and still, most doctors are clueless about this.
newer research has found that the gluten reaction effects the brain and the nervous system more than any other system in the body!! it causes inflammation of the tissue, and even slows blood flow, which itself can cause mood problems.

there is also evidence that ADD and autism may be linked to gluten. the exact mechinism isnt understood yet, but research is still to be done.


a poker dealer i know has an autistic son, @8 years old.
i told her that autistic ppl benefit eating a gluten free diet.
she tried it, and a few days later he spoke his first sentence of his entire life!!
she was beside herself! it wont 'cure' autism, but the improvement is huge on a gluten free diet for ppl w/ autism/ ADD. they are able to function much better off of gluten. its not even close, and it helps nearly 100% of those that try it.
also google that> gluten autism ADD.

there are blood tests now that are pretty dependable from Cyrex labs that will tell you if you are reacting to gluten and how. the old tests were pretty worthless.
the easiest thing to do is to try it for a week or two, and see what happens, but you have to be really strict about it, not even a bread crumb. its all for nothing (its a reaction, actually much like poison oak, so the amount is not important. the presence of the trigger is all it takes to keep the reaction going.)

i'm used to ppl thinking this is hogwash, but its their loss.

i eat a paleolithic diet, and make all my own meals. thats just meat, veggies, and fruit. the caveman diet, what humans ate before we hydridized grains, and started cultivating food.
its what our bodies are meant to eat.

the differences ive had are like night and day.
when i get even the slightest exposure to gluten, like even get a bread crumb inn my mouth and spit it ourt, the symptoms come back within an hour or less, or a day, depending on the symptom, and thay last for weeks, and i can still feel it for months!!
research backs this up, as theyve found that inflammation from one exposure can last this long!!
for me, its life or death, i cant even function if i get exposed.
last time it happened i couldnt even consider playing poker, or barely even leaving my house for over a week.
i become an anxiety ridden lunatic, and thats the least of it.

hope you take what im saying to heart?

Last edited by stampler; 03-19-2012 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:30 PM   #19
sacha.d
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Quote:
Originally Posted by stampler View Post
I play for a living, and have had horribad problems with anxiety.
panic attacks, the whole deal. oddly, ive gotten them way worse from things not poker related. Ive had to take off a ton of time from playing because of these problems, which have been getting much much better lately, though.
like you, ive struggled with getting in enough hours more than other leaks.
when i look at my winrate, and my 20 hour a week average over 1 1/2 years, i wince at how well i'd be off if i could have put in 30 hours a week during this time, and been able to play as well.

what tips me off about your problem, OP, which sounds exactly what ive gone through my entire life is when you mention 'racing thoughts'.
it's like your mind is going a mile a minute, you cant control what youre thinking about, you focus on one thing that bothers you for what seems like forever, and later you figure out it was over nothing.
It's a feeling like youre crawling out of your skin.

what worked for me in solving a myriad of health problems that i had that i thought were all unrelated;
skin problems, digestive problems, anxiety, achy joints, tingling numb arm, twitchy eye, sleep problems, weight loss, the list goes on and on. Different ppl get different symptoms, and some can be 'opposites'. some get weight loss, some weight gain. some insomnia, some get narcolepsy.
as it turns out, i have a serious autoimmune condition thats caused by an environmental trigger, and that trigger is gluten;all of these problems are resolving for me on a gluten free diet!
gluten is a proten found only in wheat and barley, and is actually only one out of 100s of proteins found in those grains.

one 21 year old kid posted on 2+2 about his anxiety problem, and it sounded just like what i went through.
I PMed him suggesting he try avoiding gluten for a week or two, and seeing what happens.
he PMed me back less than a week later "dude, you saved my life".

because wheat is 'food' most people refuse to believe it can do all these bad things to you. but just research it and find out if youre skeptical.
google > gluten anxiety panic attacks; you will find a ton of stuff.
there are legit medical studies from mayo clinic, john hopkins, columbia U (dr. greene there is a leading expert)
and still, most doctors are clueless about this.
newer research has found that the gluten reaction effects the brain and the nervous system more than any other system in the body!! it causes inflammation of the tissue, and even slows blood flow, which itself can cause mood problems.

there is also evidence that ADD and autism may be linked to gluten. the exact mechinism isnt understood yet, but research is still to be done.


a poker dealer i know has an autistic son, @8 years old.
i told her that autistic ppl benefit eating a gluten free diet.
she tried it, and a few days later he spoke his first sentence of his entire life!!
she was beside herself! it wont 'cure' autism, but the improvement is huge on a gluten free diet for ppl w/ autism/ ADD. they are able to function much better off of gluten. its not even close, and it helps nearly 100% of those that try it.
also google that> gluten autism ADD.

there are blood tests now that are pretty dependable from Cyrex labs that will tell you if you are reacting to gluten and how. the old tests were pretty worthless.
the easiest thing to do is to try it for a week or two, and see what happens, but you have to be really strict about it, not even a bread crumb. its all for nothing (its a reaction, actually much like poison oak, so the amount is not important. the presence of the trigger is all it takes to keep the reaction going.)

i'm used to ppl thinking this is hogwash, but its their loss.

i eat a paleolithic diet, and make all my own meals. thats just meat, veggies, and fruit. the caveman diet, what humans ate before we hydridized grains, and started cultivating food.
its what our bodies are meant to eat.

the differences ive had are like night and day.
when i get even the slightest exposure to gluten, like even get a bread crumb inn my mouth and spit it ourt, the symptoms come back within an hour or less, or a day, depending on the symptom, and thay last for weeks, and i can still feel it for months!!
research backs this up, as theyve found that inflammation from one exposure can last this long!!
for me, its life or death, i cant even function if i get exposed.
last time it happened i couldnt even consider playing poker, or barely even leaving my house for over a week.
i become an anxiety ridden lunatic, and thats the least of it.

hope you take what im saying to heart?
Thank you for the reply. I researched information about gluten sensitivity in the past because of my symptoms (depression, anxiety, ADD, over sleeping, lack of energy). But I was afraid to make such a drastic change in my diet/life for something that might not even work.

Do you have gluten sensitivity yourself, or do you just avoid it because of what you know? I remember wanting to get tested for it, but I read that the tests are often very inaccurate. I thought people with gluten sensitivity feel physically sick (sore stomach, cramps..) after eating gluten? I don't feel that way.

It may be worth a shot, but I often read that going gluten-free when you aren't gluten sensitive may not be worth it. I believe there are drawbacks (nutritional deficiencies?) to completely eliminating gluten from your diet, not sure..

I might end up trying it for a month.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:50 PM   #20
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kloonike View Post
I went to a psychiatrist and got some antidepressants. The doc said I actually don't have anxiety problems, but ADHD that causes me anxiety because I'm stressed about not being able to concentrate. I don't think it was a right diagnosis, because I was prescribed bupropion and it made me feel horrible. Now I'm only taking sertraline (for 11 days so far) and I can tell that I feel "less edgy" etc. It takes 2-4 weeks to start feeling the full effect of the meds, but I'm definitely noticing improvement so far.

Oh, i'm also taking an anti-depressant, have been for a year now, but it hasn't really been helping me with my anxiety, it's only been helping with the depression (that's what I got it prescribed for). Although I remember it improving my life drastically for the first ~2 months using it, after that the effect really diminished. I even tried switching from Effexor to Celexa, but that didn't help.

I also have ADHD, apparently people with ADHD often experience problems anxiety and depression, since they're all caused by a dopamine / serotonin imbalance. I take concerta for it, it help with my concentration alittle, but that's it.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:08 PM   #21
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Quote:
Originally Posted by sacha.d View Post
I play for a living and I've always struggled with this problem. Every time I want to play or know that I should play, I get this strong feeling of anxiety discouraging me from playing. Because of this I never put in a lot of volume, and end up losing skill.

I usually get this feeling at the thought of having to make tough decisions, being put in a tough spot, it's stressful for me. I'm afraid of failing in that area, it's not so much the idea of losing money, I think it's the idea of being stressed that makes me feel anxious and avoid playing. I usually avoid stressful situations in life, I don't deal well with stress.

I expect some of you to say "well poker's not for you", but with that logic I'd be very limited to what I could do in life, since alot of things in life are stressful.

I'm sure many people have this problem when it comes to poker, I'd really appreciate any useful advice.. I don't want to quit poker, I love it, so i've gotta find a way to solve this problem or eles i'll be playing low stakes soon!
I always get this feeling when I try and force myself to play more volume. Usually watching poker on youtube/ pokerstars tv will make me want to play poker.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:13 AM   #22
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Hey,

I get this feeling from time to time.. what works for me is fixing unrelated stuff, cleaning or fixing something else in life. When I have this feeling I feel like I *can* play but I feel very strongly that I am "impatient", which is terrible for poker and makes you try to force plays.. Well I still would like to find better fixes because sometimes even this doesn't help.. Lets say something else important happened that day (say someone got mad at you), but there's nothing you can do about it right now. This gives me that sort of anxiety and makes it hard for me to play, mind will keep wandering. I have also been completely unable to play right before plane trips, like the day before I have a really hard time starting to play(scared of forgetting something I guess?), and if something important is happening the next day.. now typically none of this is going on so it isn't a problem but this renders me completely useless on quite a number of days in busy periods which is huge. No clue what to do about it.

I've used ritalin a bit and it helps for school stuff and talking to people but for poker it has been completely awful for me and have had me playing awful while on it (relatively low sample but it's enough so that I don't dare using it anymore while playing poker). Can't believe I'm posting in the psychology forum, I usually stay away from it as it's an incredibly depressing forum.. lol
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:10 PM   #23
stewball
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

I have anxiety problems as well, not necessarily with poker but with every day life. I don't know if there's really a magical cure, but I from my experience there are ways to control it. Living a healthy lifestyle, eating well, working out, and getting to sleep at a normal hour are greatly important in keeping anxiety to a minimum IMO.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:30 AM   #24
ThePrunus
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Quote:
Originally Posted by stampler View Post
I play for a living, and have had horribad problems with anxiety.
panic attacks, the whole deal. oddly, ive gotten them way worse from things not poker related. Ive had to take off a ton of time from playing because of these problems, which have been getting much much better lately, though.
like you, ive struggled with getting in enough hours more than other leaks.
when i look at my winrate, and my 20 hour a week average over 1 1/2 years, i wince at how well i'd be off if i could have put in 30 hours a week during this time, and been able to play as well.

what tips me off about your problem, OP, which sounds exactly what ive gone through my entire life is when you mention 'racing thoughts'.
it's like your mind is going a mile a minute, you cant control what youre thinking about, you focus on one thing that bothers you for what seems like forever, and later you figure out it was over nothing.
It's a feeling like youre crawling out of your skin.

what worked for me in solving a myriad of health problems that i had that i thought were all unrelated;
skin problems, digestive problems, anxiety, achy joints, tingling numb arm, twitchy eye, sleep problems, weight loss, the list goes on and on. Different ppl get different symptoms, and some can be 'opposites'. some get weight loss, some weight gain. some insomnia, some get narcolepsy.
as it turns out, i have a serious autoimmune condition thats caused by an environmental trigger, and that trigger is gluten;all of these problems are resolving for me on a gluten free diet!
gluten is a proten found only in wheat and barley, and is actually only one out of 100s of proteins found in those grains.

one 21 year old kid posted on 2+2 about his anxiety problem, and it sounded just like what i went through.
I PMed him suggesting he try avoiding gluten for a week or two, and seeing what happens.
he PMed me back less than a week later "dude, you saved my life".

because wheat is 'food' most people refuse to believe it can do all these bad things to you. but just research it and find out if youre skeptical.
google > gluten anxiety panic attacks; you will find a ton of stuff.
there are legit medical studies from mayo clinic, john hopkins, columbia U (dr. greene there is a leading expert)
and still, most doctors are clueless about this.
newer research has found that the gluten reaction effects the brain and the nervous system more than any other system in the body!! it causes inflammation of the tissue, and even slows blood flow, which itself can cause mood problems.

there is also evidence that ADD and autism may be linked to gluten. the exact mechinism isnt understood yet, but research is still to be done.


a poker dealer i know has an autistic son, @8 years old.
i told her that autistic ppl benefit eating a gluten free diet.
she tried it, and a few days later he spoke his first sentence of his entire life!!
she was beside herself! it wont 'cure' autism, but the improvement is huge on a gluten free diet for ppl w/ autism/ ADD. they are able to function much better off of gluten. its not even close, and it helps nearly 100% of those that try it.
also google that> gluten autism ADD.

there are blood tests now that are pretty dependable from Cyrex labs that will tell you if you are reacting to gluten and how. the old tests were pretty worthless.
the easiest thing to do is to try it for a week or two, and see what happens, but you have to be really strict about it, not even a bread crumb. its all for nothing (its a reaction, actually much like poison oak, so the amount is not important. the presence of the trigger is all it takes to keep the reaction going.)

i'm used to ppl thinking this is hogwash, but its their loss.

i eat a paleolithic diet, and make all my own meals. thats just meat, veggies, and fruit. the caveman diet, what humans ate before we hydridized grains, and started cultivating food.
its what our bodies are meant to eat.

the differences ive had are like night and day.
when i get even the slightest exposure to gluten, like even get a bread crumb inn my mouth and spit it ourt, the symptoms come back within an hour or less, or a day, depending on the symptom, and thay last for weeks, and i can still feel it for months!!
research backs this up, as theyve found that inflammation from one exposure can last this long!!
for me, its life or death, i cant even function if i get exposed.
last time it happened i couldnt even consider playing poker, or barely even leaving my house for over a week.
i become an anxiety ridden lunatic, and thats the least of it.

hope you take what im saying to heart?
I have been doing fasting for the last month and it helped me alot.

I will try this paleo diet, holy **** most of the things in it I never heard off
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:10 PM   #25
mustdobetter
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Re: Feeling of anxiety making it difficult to start a session

Is it worth creating a weekly timetable and putting the time slots when you'll play on a calendar? The idea behind this is to take away the anxiety of sitting there deciding whether you should play or not. That decision has been made when you made the timetable, moving playing from a decision to a pre-scheduled action.

I'd initially make it for the average amount of hours you actually do, not the amount you want to do, then very gradually increase it to avoid expecting too high a productivity increase in one go.
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