Gambling is a popular pastime that provides an adrenaline rush when you win money, but it can also cause stress. If you’re struggling with gambling, there are ways to stop it from taking over your life and ruining your relationships.
Set limits. Decide how much money you can comfortably lose, and don’t play with more than that. Also, don’t be tempted to tip your dealers in cash. They make a living from tips and they need them. If you’re playing at a casino, stick to free cocktails and don’t get too carried away with the “lucky” vibes (everything that happens in a casino is determined by chance).
Balance gambling with other activities. When you’re gambling, try to keep it to a minimum of two hours at a time and leave when your limit is reached – whether you’ve won or lost. It’s also important not to borrow to gamble and never try to recoup your losses by chasing your winnings.
Identify your gambling triggers. Keeping a journal of the people, places and things that trigger your urges to gamble can help you spot the warning signs. This could include noticing patterns such as missing work or school to gamble, asking friends for money and borrowing from family.
Learn to deal with unpleasant emotions. Gambling can be a way to self-soothe unpleasant feelings such as boredom or depression, so it’s important to find healthier and more effective ways of relieving these symptoms. Try exercising, spending time with non-gambling friends, joining a book club, enrolling in an adult education class or volunteering.