In-game Fear Response in esports: Fight Flight Freeze (FFF)
FFF (Fight, Flight, Freeze Response) is a natural physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived threat, as our body / mind adapts. This is how we react in-game to challenges / stress & why. This sheds light on different players' mentality & resulting behaviors.
A need to react aggressively to a perceived threat. "Fight the bear.”
Argue, get angry / tilt / frustrated or very competitive. They just go harder.
Can take unnecessary risks, play aggro, get egoic, act erratically & change the playstyle. Overcompensate to overcome.
"Run from the bear."
Play small, hide out. Get quiet & shut down. Tense. Emotionally hard, feeling "I can't change this".
Avoid conflict/confrontation. Not speak their mind. Can run from fights, hang back & avoid making impact / gives up. Under compensate to overcome.
"Freeze from the bear.”
Overwhelm, not responding, zone out. Their play is unconfident & lacks oomph.
Miss calls. May physically keep moving but mentally they just keep playing the scenario over & over & over again, unable to shake it off / move on from a mistake.
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We each have an FFF Response & can be different one to different situations. It can be a lower degree of response/mix 'snarky comments/less comms/leaves early' instead of a full blown FFF. It is important to recognize which one we have, when & what triggers it, without judgment.
Fear is creating Worry & Stress = Anxiety (see part 1 of series).
To identify what’s going on for you, write down for yourself:
1. Which FFF you have & when?
2. What are you afraid of?
3. How would you play if you felt safe?
Awareness is the most powerful thing to create change.
How can we moderate our response?
Threats we encounter in-game are not physical but rather cognitive - what we Worry & Stress about triggers FFF. Our bodies react to stress in a very physical way, leading to heightened sympathetic nervous system activity & symptoms of anxiety.
Soothe ourselves in times of Stress:
📍Deep breaths to calm the nervous system
📍Remember there's no threat & deliberately lighten up
📍"I have nothing to prove but improve" Mindset
📍Slow down to regain a sense of control
📍Pre-choose a helpful Response instead of Reacting
It's not easy to change what has become our natural response, but it is possible.
📍Accept your Worry
📍Recognize it's deviating you from your game plan
📍Refocus on what IS working
➡️ W.I.N formula - What's Important Now?
Relax your focus on the fear & refocus on 1 W.I.N thing.
📍Implement relaxing Self-talk "it's just body chemicals, I got this, this will only make me better".
📍Use 'AND' - "I have fear chemicals in my body AND I'll nail this game while feeling them". Relax into it...
📍Set a Mantra - phrase to bring focus to your exact desired state.
To change your FFF Response to threats in-game, you must KNOW you're bigger than your Stress & Worry.
Your body will release the fear response if you keep assuring it there's nothing to be afraid of.
A FREE course I like on Grounding Skills for Anxiety ❤️