What is Wargaming Mindfulness you may ask? Surely new age hippy nonsense like meditation, mindfulness and zen have no place in the wargaming hobby?
Well whatever your inclinations to such things and whatever you call it, I think talking about how we approach the wargaming hobby is relevant. I’m not going to suggest a meditation programme for wargaming, that would be a bit weird. But I do want to write about how to approach this hobby in a way that is positive and doesn’t lead to frustration.
What is Mindfulness?
Firstly it’s a good idea to just say what mindfulness is. Mindfulness in its simplest terms is being present in the moment. You can use meditation to help you be mindful, but it’s not essential. If you’re mindful you appreciate the time and place you are in without constantly dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness can be beneficial to mental health and help reduce stress and anxiety. And remember mental health doesn’t cover only serious disorders. Everyone goes through times of low moods at some point or another at the very least. Mental health issues are at least as prevalent as physical health issues.
Causes of Wargaming Anxiety
So if mindfulness might help with anxiety and stress, what are the potential causes of those in the Wargaming hobby. Could you be suffering from any of these:
- Too much lead! The size of your lead or plastic mountain of figures to paint seems never ending. That could be a good thing perhaps, but if it leaves you with despair about ever finishing it then it’s not!
- Switching between projects. Again that could be good if it helps keep you motivated by bringing variety. But if it’s not intentional then it might mean you’re distracted easily and can’t settle on anything. The result is you get frustrated when you don’t actually finish anything.
- The new shiny. You see a new product advertised, read an article or listen to a podcast that discusses a certain game or wargaming period and think “I want to get into that. It sounds great!” So you end up buying it … and then it sits on the shelf for a long time. As well as costing you money it also contributes to the size of the painting mountain never to be finished.
There could well be other causes of wargaming hobby stress – maybe the stress caused by a new Warhammer edition that renders your carefully collected army useless, or concern about what others think about your painting skills. But I guess you probably get the idea.
How to approach the Wargaming Hobby Mindfully
So how might you go about being more mindful in terms of your wargame hobby?
It’s hard to be honest. I often switch between projects – not just because I fancy variety, but because my mental attention gets sparked by something new, and I end up not finishing what I should have been doing. Then several months later I think why didn’t I finish that project, I could be gaming with it by now!
Well actually approaching other parts of your life mindfully can help. I would recommend meditation as a good way of coping with stress.
I think it does help to have a plan as well. Not a plan of how to paint everything you have, but at least a plan of what you are going to paint over the next few months. You can work some variety into that plan as well, so you don’t end up painting 100 of the same figure!
I also keep a Painting Diary to see what I painted each month. When I look back at it I can see what I achieved and perhaps see where I started a project I never finished and then plan to get back on track.
You could avoid news of new products etc to avoid temptation.
But perhaps the main thing is just to take pleasure in the thing you are doing at the moment – don’t be thinking too much about what you want to do after you have finished this project, but enjoy getting done what you are doing. If the hobbying is a bit dull and you start dreaming of a new figure to paint then maybe listen to an audio book at the same time to distract you from planning the next project in your head!
I hope this article has helped. Let me know if you have any other ideas for how to avoid wargaming hobby frustration!