Are you constantly thinking about gambling?
The difference between thinking about things you really like and thinking about something you used to like, say your gambling, is that it is likely that your gambling thoughts are now unpleasant and make you feel bad.
Heavy and even moderate gamblers sometimes worry about their losses, think about the reasons they didn’t stop when they were in front, and worry about how much debt they owe and how to re-pay or how they will pay their bills and even buy food.
Gambling tends to be all consuming. Many gamblers find much of their time is spent planning the next time they will gamble, trying to work out where will they get more money to gamble and what excuses they need to tell at home or at work so they can go and gamble.
People dealing with worrying thoughts about their gambling might feel depressed, anxious and this emotional upset may even further fuel their need to gamble. (If you are having suicidal thoughts call Gambling Help 1800 858 858 or Lifeline immediately).
If problem gamblers fall into the trap of gambling again, unfortunately rather than recouping losses as they hoped, they end up losing even more money and the worrying thoughts start all over again – perhaps even worse.
Binge gambling can result in very heavy losses. This can happen when heavy drinking gets mixed in with the gambling or you are really desperate and lose control.
If you are going out, stick to some basic rules like only taking small amounts of cash with you and not taking ATM or credit cards. If you are going to drink, drink responsibly to avoid fuelling a gambling binge and the inevitable gambling hangover.
Managing worrying thoughts on gambling
Sometimes gamblers think they have had enough of these worrying thoughts and try to stop them ‘head on’ only to find this actually makes them worse.
Let the thoughts be and focus on what you are actually doing when the thoughts strike. Distract yourself, call up a friend, start watching a movie, do some work about the house, focus on your work, perhaps make yourself lunch or dinner, go for a walk, head to the gym or meet up with friends to play a game or go for a run. Plan a list of things you can do and then when the gambling urge strikes, do something off that list
When battling gambling urges, you need to stay “present in the moment’. You need to do something physical as well as distract your mind so you do not feed the gambling cycle by worrying about past gambling or planning future gambling.
If you are aware that you are worrying about gambling and want to stop distract yourself by doing something you enjoy.
Some gamblers keep a diary of their thoughts and then when thinking clearly, sit down and try to question the accuracy of them.
Other people find that by allocating specific worrying time of around half an hour per day, that their worrying gambling thoughts do not intrude into other areas of their life such as their work and relationships.
Many people find meditation, yoga and relaxation very helpful in keeping their intrusive gambling thoughts under control. These kind of activities also help people sleep more restfully.
Remember by sometimes giving your worrying thoughts “a voice” (by talking to a trusted person’ a counsellor, doctor, good friend or family member) you can keep your gambling worries under control and work on staying away from gambling.
Need more information on managing your gambling problems? Call Gambling Help 1800 858 858 or talk to an online counsellor here www.gamblinghelponline.org.au or visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au for information and to find free Gambling Help services near you.
Take the first step now. Get some FREE, confidential, expert help, get your gambling under control and cut those gambling worries in half.