Betting on sports can be a fun and harmless form of entertainment, but it’s important to understand the potential dangers and take steps to protect your mental health. If you are in one of the main gambling nations, where most forms of betting are legal, you will have access to a lot of sports betting opportunities recommended by Match Center, a respectable service available in a variety of countries including the UK, NZ, Australia and other countries.
This can be difficult for those who are prone to gambling addiction to deal with. If you or someone you know is a gambling addict or has had problems with gambling in the past, it is important to ensure that you or they completely avoid all betting platforms.
For those not at risk of problem gambling, however, it is still important to consider your mental health when betting on sports. Addiction and harmful gambling behaviour can creep up on you and can lead to you neglecting your relationships, work or finances. Here are some useful tips to consider that will help you to reduce the risks and the negative effects of betting on your mental well-being.
Set clear limits
Determine the amount of time and money you’re willing to bet (and that you can afford to spend). This should never include money that you need for essentials or money that you cannot afford to lose. Stick to these limits and avoid getting carried away.
Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions when you’re gambling. If you start feeling anxious, stressed, or upset, take a break or stop altogether. Reflect on why you are gambling, and understand that sports betting can never be a solution to financial problems or a shortcut to riches.
Don’t chase your losses
Never try to make up for losses by betting more. This often leads to bigger losses and can spiral out of control. Set a strict limit on how much you are prepared to bet, and when this money is gone, stop gambling immediately.
You should set a strict time limit on how long you spend on a gambling session. It is also important to limit your betting to set times and days so that it remains a minor pastime. Use the spare time that you don’t spend on betting on doing something else you enjoy or to relax and recharge.
Avoid alcohol and drug use
Substance abuse reduces your inhibitions and affects your judgment, so it can increase your risk of gambling problems and make it harder to control your behaviour. Limit or ideally avoid alcohol and drug use while betting.
All of these measures can help to ensure that you remain in control of your betting activity, but if you find that you are struggling, it is important to look for help sooner rather than later. Reach out to friends or family for help or get in touch with one of the many gambling charities and organisations, such as Gamblers Anonymous and GamCare, which provide support.
Getting the help of a mental health expert, particularly an expert trained in addiction treatment, can be another positive step, giving you support, guidance and useful advice. You can often be referred through your doctor or through a gambling charity or other organisation.
Find other leisure activities
Look for activities that can serve as a healthy substitute for betting. Engaging in exercise, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing hobbies can help you reduce your desire to bet and improve your overall mental health.
Look out for triggers
If you are trying to stop gambling, then it is important to identify the triggers that make you want to bet, such as boredom, stress, or emotional upset. Avoid these triggers or find alternative ways to cope with them. Find out more about the triggers and the mental processes involved in gambling addiction so that you are better prepared to spot these problems before they arise.
Taking care of your mental health when betting is essential for preventing gambling-related problems. By setting limits, being aware of your betting habits and seeking the appropriate support when needed, you can minimise the negative impact of gambling on your well-being and maintain a healthy and enjoyable relationship with this form of entertainment.
Zuella Montemayor did her degree in psychology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.