Are the way you think about gambling and the way you respond to a noise in the night connected? You might be surprised.
Scrambling at a noise in the night
Our reactions tell us a lot about the thought patterns that have become ingrained over time in our brains. Examining these thought patterns may be one of the fastest ways to discovering why we are motivated to keep gambling. Consider how you might react if you heard a loud noise in the middle of the night. You might sit bolt upright in bed, listening for an intruder, heart pounding – or you might think that the cat has knocked over a plant and feel mildly annoyed. Or you might not even notice it at all.
Our interpretations influence our response
The common factor between all scenarios is the loud noise, what differs is peoples’ reaction to it. If you were scared because you thought someone had broken in, you may wake up your partner or dial the police. If you thought it was the cat you might grumble and mutter under your dooner and cover your head with another pillow. You see, the way we interpret situations has a lot to do with how we feel and subsequently our behaviour.
Thoughts and responses in problem gamblers
If you’re a problem gambler, it is often is the way you think about gambling that explains your behaviour and why you feel compelled to continue gambling. Examples include:
- Gamblers Fallacy: Gamblers often use past performance to predict future outcomes. For example, if we tossed a coin 4 times and the outcome was heads, one might predict that if we tossed the coin a 5th time, the likely outcome will be tails. You see, we are using past performance to predict future outcomes. The probability of the coin landing on heads versus tails on the 5th coin toss is equally likely.
- Availability Heuristic or Illusion: The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that spring to mind. For example, it is easier to recall the few times that you have won compared to the many times that you lost. As a result, you might judge that those events are more frequent and possible than others. You give greater credence to this information and tend to overestimate the probability and likelihood of similar wins in the future.
Good news – thought patterns can be challenged and adjusted
The good news is that we have the capacity to identify patterns of thinking that reinforce the idea that we can win which motivates us to continue to gamble. Once we have identified them, we can challenge them and adopt new and healthier ways of thinking that promotes the truth, which is the inevitability of losing.
There is help available. Call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 to speak with a gambling counsellor. Free individual sessions are available to anybody who might be concerned their gambling has gotten out of hand.