Often referred to as a gateway drug, video games have been given a bad rap for years now. However, if you ignore the stigma, there’s some real science behind the entertainment medium. In fact, research shows that gaming has a positive effect on mental health, and it can serve as an outlet during difficult times in your life. This article covers how gaming can improve your mood when you’re feeling down in the dumps.
Helps Brain Stimulation
Research has shown that video games can improve cognitive abilities. It helps people better understand their brains and thought processes. Playing video games is an active activity. Players must do something to progress through a game. This activeness stimulates the parts of the brain responsible for problem-solving and other skills. When gamers play, they’re exercising their minds and bodies simultaneously.
In addition, certain types of games require players to strategise. This helps them learn to think more critically and creatively. Similarly, when choosing an online casino game, picking blackjack or poker over roulette or slots helps stimulate your brain. This is because these games make you think rather than depend on luck.
Helps Relieve Stress
Gaming is an effective way to relax and relieve stress. Many video games feature threats. This includes monsters, weapons and other hazards designed to stimulate a player’s fight-or-flight response. This response can help people deal with stress by making them feel prepared for the situation at hand. More recent games may have a more relaxed theme in which players are on an adventure or even travelling through space, giving the experience of being on edge but still feeling safe and protected.
Stress can also manifest in various physical problems, including headaches, stomachaches and joint pain. Research suggests that playing video games is beneficial when treating these conditions because they provide a positive experience. A player can forget about their symptoms and focus on the game.
While some people think of gaming as isolating, the reality is quite different. Gaming can, in fact, be a powerful tool for fostering connection and community. When you’re playing a game with another person, you feel that you’ve accomplished something together. The game itself provides a common language for communicating about your experience and gives you a reference point for explaining your feelings.
This connection can be essential when you’re not able to go out and meet people in person or when your friends are spread out over long distances. It’s also true that gamers tend to find it easier to make friends than non-gamers.
Develop Coping Mechanisms
Traditional coping mechanisms can be fairly limiting. You might be able to find a book that helps you deal with a situation or a person in your life, but some things just can’t be addressed outside of the context in which they happen. For these kinds of situations, gaming is an excellent tool for developing coping mechanisms for stressful situations and people.
When an element of a game is stressful, it’s often because the developers have done their job. They’ve created a challenge that forces you to think critically and develop new strategies for overcoming the challenge. If you translate that into real life, when something comes up that’s difficult, you have the tools necessary to develop new ways of facing them.
The evidence is clear – gaming has a positive effect on your mental health. It improves your mood, reduces stress and anxiety, and stimulates your motivation. For people with difficulties to keep persistent with mental training, game-like interventions could be an alternative option to maintain self-improvement.