How to Manage Anxiety While Streaming [Twitch & YouTube]
Many streamers have stated that the act of broadcasting has relieved them of anxiety and other mental-health related issues. People have grown in their confidence and have become stronger people overall. Some see it as a coping mechanism, while others see it as a way to escape.
In this article, we will cover what stream anxiety looks like and ways that you can take steps in overcoming it for yourself.
What Stream Anxiety Looks Like
While the appearance and intensity of the anxiety will vary from person to person, those considering streaming may worry about the following:
Lack of Skill or Knowlege/Comparing Yourself to Others
If you are passionate about wanting to stream something but worry that you aren’t good enough, use it as an opportunity for growth. Go into your project with the admission that you struggle with it. Work hard to improve and ask your viewers to help you along the way. Many people love to help, and watching you grow in something will give them a sense of joy and accomplishment.
While some possess natural talents that others don’t, everyone starts at the beginning sometime. People understand growth, and the right people won’t judge you for trying to improve.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Streamers
On the same note, don’t compare yourself and your value with any other person. We recommend that you ignore your view numbers every time you stream. If you need to, make your Twitch chat rules state not to share your viewer count (whether small or large) with anyone.
Instead, stream to make yourself happy. Be the person you would want to watch. As you practice, you will become that person and grow in confidence along the way. Promote yourself, network with other streamers, and make friends. Many streamers (even if they don’t become huge) make great friendships that last years.
The time you spend comparing yourself to others is wasted if you aren’t using it to find ways to increase your own talent and skills.
Other People’s Opinions
Some people hate Ninja. Some people hate DrDisrespect. No streamer is loved by everyone. Despite being listed as one of Richtopia’s Top 200 Most Influential Authors in the World, Orrin Woodard is no stranger to being disliked. He stated, “Learn to use the criticism as fuel and you will never run out of energy.”
Every person in this world is disliked by someone else. Nobody, nobody has achieved a 100% acceptance rate. This will be true regardless of where you go and what you do. As we stated earlier, people with anxiety will indeed take being disliked to heart more often than others who are less anxious. Don’t let that be your excuse.
In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown wrote, “Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?” Use the fuel you receive from other’s criticism to push yourself forward.
If you must focus on people’s opinions, listen to those who genuinely want to see you succeed. They will praise your strengths and work with you to overcome your weaknesses. These people genuinely care about you and should be treasured. In the end, does anyone else’s opinions really matter?
It’s your channel, you can stream what you want.
Worried About Failure
The only way you can fail to stream is by not going live. We can’t guarantee that you will ever have a following or that you’ll earn much as a streamer, but you will have tried, which puts you a step above a lot of others who are still too afraid.
Again, the woman known for her research in vulnerability and shame, Brené Brown, stated, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Every step you take toward courage takes you away from your fear. The second time you go live will be easier than the first. Even if streaming ultimately isn’t for you, your mindset will change, and it will be easier to jump into your next dream.
Telling Friends that You Stream
Many streamers worry about telling their friends or family that they stream. In many cases, this fear is understandable. Many times, people won’t understand your interest in it and may discourage you. Our recommendation is only to tell those who you know will support you regardless.
Once you become more confident in your ability, feel free to tell whomever you wish. By then, their opinions about your hobby won’t matter as much to you.
This is a common struggle in a world that likes to rank people based on appearance. The appearance struggle is more pronounced for women in general. Many female streamers struggle with anxiety over their appearance. Some believe they don’t get viewers because they aren’t “pretty enough,” while others are regularly hit on because it is assumed that they are broadcasting for that kind of attention.
Gaming has been viewed as a “boy’s club” for so long that some men can’t comprehend that a woman may want to stream because she genuinely enjoys games and wants to share that passion with others.
First Female Esports Tournament Winner
On November 2, 2019, Xiaomeng “VKLiooon” Li, became the first female to win a Blizzcon final. After being asked what it meant for her as a woman to win, she told a story about how she had been told that she didn’t belong and ended her statement with, “If you want to do it and believe in yourself, you should forget your gender and go for it.” (You can watch the game and her speech in this video).
In an interview later, she said that most people supported her regardless of their gender. If you are a woman who is struggling to believe that she “belongs” in the world of gaming (or streaming), take heart. Most people will accept you with open arms; they just don’t tend to be the “loudest” in the crowd.
Both men and women who struggle with anxiety tend to focus on statements that make them feel worse about themselves or their situation. Some can overcome this tendency by being aware of it and taking positive affirmations to heart. Our advice to both genders who struggle with streaming due to their appearance is not to worry so much. The right people won’t care.
If it is a crippling fear, try streaming without a webcam for a while. Many people are willing to watch a stream with no webcam as long as the content is excellent. Build your community and warm up to them.
Take Care of Yourself Outside of Streaming
Don’t expect streaming or your community to cure you of your anxiety completely. Do whatever you have to do to improve your mental heath. Work out, eat healthily, see a therapist. Find other ways to express yourself and grow as a person.
Watch Other Streamers with Anxiety
Network and connect with other streamers who suffer from anxiety. There are many! As you connect, you can help each other grow and overcome.
If you’re interested in watching a streamer who focuses on anxiety and other mental issues, check out Mxiety on Twitch. After recovering from her own mental breakdown, she set out to help others brighten their lives.
As you grow in your confidence and your anxiety subsides, consider giving back to the gaming community by hosting a charity stream. Anxiety Gaming is a non-profit organization that strives to provide mental health resources to gamers. Numerous factors cause anxiety and depression, and people will require different resources to find help. Anxiety Gaming helps individuals overcome the paywall necessary in receiving proper treatment that can help them get back on track with their lives.
When the Trolls Come
Everyone gets trolled. The key is not to take it to heart. Again, remember that your supporters are the only people whose opinions or thoughts matter. Try to respond to the trolling with a little humor.
If you need to, block them from your channel (or have one of your mods do it). Keep your chin up and carry on.
How is Anxiety Caused?
There are many factors that can contribute to anxiety. These may include stress from work, illness, or a family situation; past traumas or abuse; or low self-image. Regardless of the reason or reasons that make you anxious, it is important for you as a person to take steps to recover.
Recovery will also look different for everyone. Some may need professional counseling, while others may need to take a week off of work to relax. We won’t go into detail over where the anxiety comes from or what it will take for you to recover. For professional help or a diagnosis, you should see a counselor. We have no professional capacity to treat or diagnose anyone.
Instead, we are going to give general statements of things that have worked for other streamers with anxiety.