Happiness looks different for everyone. For you, maybe it’s being at the blackjack table, drink in hand. Or having the financial security to go all in without the slightest hesitation. Or the freedom to pursue your lifelong dream of winning a WSOP Bracelet.
Regardless of your version of true happiness, having a happier, more satisfied gambling life is within reach. A few tweaks to your regular habits can help you get there.
If you’ve ever attempted to break a bad habit, you know all too well how ingrained they are.
Well, good gambling habits are just as deeply ingrained. Why not work on making positive habits part of your routine as a gambler?
Here’s a sample of some daily, monthly, and yearly habits to help get you started on the road of happiness. Keep in mind that everyone’s version of happiness is a little different, and so is their path to achieving it.
If any of these create added stress or just don’t fit your style, ditch them. With a little time and practice, you’ll figure out what does and doesn’t work for you as a gambler
You tend to smile when you’re happy. But it’s actually a two-way street.
We smile because we’re happy, and smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, which makes us happier.
Who doesn’t love the guy or gal across the table with a huge smile through it all?
Smile at the dealers. Smile at the cocktail servers. Smile at your fellow gamblers. Heck, even smile at the pit boss.
Exercise isn’t just for your body. Regular exercise can help to reduce stress, feelings of anxiety, and symptoms of depression while boosting self-esteem and happiness.
Even a small amount of physical activity can make a difference. You don’t have to train for a triathlon or scale a mountain to see a change.
The trick is not to overexert. If you suddenly throw yourself into a strenuous routine, you’ll probably just end up burnt out.
Consider these exercise starters:
- Take a walk around the block every night after dinner.
- Sign up for a beginner’s class in yoga or tai chi.
- Start your day with 5 minutes of stretching.
Remind yourself of any fun activities you once enjoyed, but that have fallen by the wayside. Or activities you always wanted to try, such as golf, bowling, or dancing.
No matter how much modern society steers us toward less sleep, we know that adequate sleep is vital to good health, brain function, and emotional well-being.
Most adults need about 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night. If you find yourself fighting the urge to nap during the day or just feel like you’re in a fog, your body may be telling you it needs more rest.
It’s especially easy to get caught up in the energy of the casino and neglect yourself on trips. Pay close attention to the time and get your rest.
Here are a few tips to help you build a better sleep routine:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.
- Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
- Invest in some good bedding.
- If you have to take a nap, try to limit it to 20 minutes.
If you consistently have problems sleeping, talk to your doctor. You may have a sleep disorder requiring treatment.
Simply being grateful can give your attitude a boost, among other benefits. For example, a recent two-part study found that practicing gratitude can have a significant impact on feelings of hope and happiness.
Start each day by acknowledging one thing you’re grateful for. You can do this while you’re having your morning coffee or taking the elevator down from your room.
As you go about your day, try to keep an eye out for pleasant things going on around you. It may be something huge like hitting an online slots jackpot.
But they can also be little things, such as a casino employee offering you show tickets. Maybe even just the warmth of the sun on your skin as you lay by the pool.
With a little practice, you may even become more aware of all the positive things around you.
Give a Compliment
Research shows that performing acts of kindness can help you feel more satisfied.
Giving a sincere compliment is a quick, easy way to brighten someone’s day while giving your own happiness a boost.
Catch the person’s eye and say it with a smile so they know you mean it. You might be surprised by how good it makes you feel.
If you want to offer someone a compliment on their physical appearance, make sure to do it in a respectful way.
Take a Breath
You’re tense, your shoulders are tight, and you feel as though you just might “lose it.” We all know that feeling.
Instinct may tell you to take a long, deep breath to calm yourself down.
Turns out, that instinct is a good one. According to Harvard Health, deep breathing exercises help
The next time you feel stressed or at your wit’s end, work through these steps:
- Close your eyes. Try to envision a happy memory or beautiful place.
- Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose.
- Slowly breathe out through your mouth or nose.
- Repeat this process several times, until you start to feel yourself calm down.
If you’re having a hard time taking slow, deliberate breaths, try counting to 5 in your head with each inhale and exhale.
This exercise has been a sure-fire way to keep me from going on tilt more than once.
Embrace the Suck
A positive attitude is generally a good thing, but bad things happen to everyone. It’s just part of life and certainly a part of gambling.
If you get some bad luck, make a mistake, or just feel like you’re in a funk, don’t try to pretend you’re happy.
Acknowledge the feeling of unhappiness, letting yourself experience it for a moment. Then, shift your focus toward what made you feel this way and what it might take to recover.
Would a deep breathing exercise help? A long walk outside? Talking it over with someone?
Let the moment pass and take care of yourself. Remember, no one’s happy all the time.
Face Stress Head-On
Life is full of stressors, and it’s impossible to avoid all of them.
Luckily, you don’t have to. A noted Stanford psychologist, says that stress isn’t always harmful, and we can even change our attitudes about stress.
For those stressors you can’t avoid, remind yourself that everyone has stress. There’s no reason to think it’s all on you. And chances are, you’re stronger than you think you are.
Instead of letting yourself get overwhelmed, try to tackle the stressor head-on. This might mean initiating an inner dialogue or putting in some extra work, but the sooner you tackle it, the sooner the pit in your stomach will start to shrink.
Can You Hear Me Now
Turn off all the electronics and put those earbuds away for at least one hour once a session. They’ll still be there for you later. If you still want them, that is.
If you haven’t unplugged in a while, you might be surprised at the difference it makes. Let your mind wander free for a change. Observe. Meditate. Take a walk and pay attention to your surroundings. Be sociable. Or be alone. Just be.
Sound too daunting? Try doing a shorter amount of time in more regular intervals.
There are many methods of meditation to explore. They can involve movement, focus, spirituality, or a combination of all three.
Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as sitting quietly with your own thoughts for 5 minutes. Even the deep breathing exercises mentioned earlier can serve as a form of meditation.
Incorporate meditation into your gambling routine and see your winnings increase.
Treat Yo Self
No one to go out with? Well, what rule says you can’t go out alone?
Go to your favorite restaurant, take in a Vegas show, or go on that trip you’ve always dreamed of. You’ll likely be happier playing slots in Macau, if that’s on your bucket list.
Even if you’re a social butterfly, spending some deliberate time alone can help you reconnect with the games and places that truly make you happy.
Revisit Your Goals
People change, so think about where you’re heading and consider if that’s still where you want to go. There’s no shame in changing your game.
Becoming a professional poker player may not have the same ring to it than it did before being married with kids. It’s okay to embrace what makes you happiest today and work your gambling goals around that.
Let go of any goals that no longer serve you, even if they sound nice on paper.
You will be well-served to remember that gambling is a form of entertainment. Are you laying your bet for entertainment sake or to pay your light bill?
If it is the latter, I would encourage you to stop and possibly take a break from gambling.
It is almost impossible to not get caught up in the moment. Especially, when the competitive juices begin to flow. Just don’t go chasing bad money with good money.
I have one final piece of advice on how to be a happier gambler: For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.