Using Mindfulness To Survive PAX

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PAX, like any convention, is busy and involves a lot of waiting. Here’s a small trick I’ve found helps keep me calm during the longer waits.

Anyone who’s read anything about therapy or psychology in the last five years will have heard about mindfulness. It’s currently in vogue with regards to the treatment of anxiety and depression. In essence, mindfulness is about being present in the moment. Take your mind away from worries about the future and focus on what’s happening in the current moment.

But, what does this have to do with PAX?

An extension of practicing mindfulness is about being driven by values, not goals. It’s no secret that PAX is full of queues. In fact, sometimes these queues can be excruciatingly long.

One example is Space Pirate Trainer. Better known as the VR laser target shooting game under the Origin banner. The line for which took about two and a half hours.

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To be fair, it looks amazing.

Values, Goals, and the Queue

Some theories suggest that we become fixated on achieving a goal that we can’t enjoy the time it takes to get to the goal. Imagine a long drive. For us in Australia, maybe Melbourne to Sydney.

With a goal-oriented mindset, we’d be sitting the car, cursing the time it’s taking to get there. A value-oriented mindset, encourages us to enjoy the hundreds of sights we drive through, the music playing, or the company we have. Although both kinds of people are happy to get to the destination, only one managed to appreciate everything in between.

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Replace the drive with a queue and there you have it. Standing in line for any of the major games on display, For Honour, South Park, VR, is an exercise in being mindful. If we focus only on the length of the line and the game we’re waiting for, it’s easy to fall into the trap of annoyance.

Instead, bring your mind to other things happening around you. You’re at Melbourne’s biggest gaming convention. Watch one of the other games on a nearby big screen. Absorb the atmosphere. Heck, even plan your next move on the app.

If you need a little help, here’s a small exercise. When you first feel the annoyance at the line creeping up at you, try to list five things that you can hear, five things you can see, and five things you can feel.

I get it, though. Sometimes your feet are sore and your back is sore from standing up. If this is case, take a good look around. What swag are people holding? What cosplayers are nearby? How many 3DS can you count?

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If the cosplay superheroes and villains were to fight right now, who would win?

You might come up with your own ways of enjoying the experience more richly and that’s awesome. Share them in the comments below so other attendees might benefit.

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