Computer gaming has historically been given a bad rap. Tell people you play games online, and generally, most would consider you to be a bit of a time-waster, right? However, in recent years, more people are starting to realize that playing computer games can have positive effects on your mental health.
Of course, excessive gaming is never to be recommended, but in moderation, mindful gaming can offer a number of different benefits for your mental well-being.
Here, we’ll take a look at how playing computer games can be beneficial for your mental health – and why it’s important to strike the perfect balance.
First, gaming, whether it’s playing action-packed adventures, strategy games, or even no-wager online casino games at sites like those at Fruity Slots, can be a great way to reduce stress.
Playing games lets you temporarily escape from the day-to-day pressures of life as you get to immerse yourself in a virtual world where you can focus your mind on challenges and objectives completely unrelated to real life. This can mean lower stress levels – and give you some well-needed relaxation.
Research has actually shown that the engagement and focus you need when gaming can even lead to a reduction in the production of stress hormones – such as cortisol. What’s more, the satisfaction you get if you manage to conquer in-game challenges and hit your goals can trigger the release of dopamine – linked to pleasure and reward, which can alleviate your stress even more.
Good For Your Brain
Many computer games will need you to use problem-solving skills, critical thinking, strategic thinking, and planning. By playing such games, you can keep your mind sharp and even improve your cognitive functions. For example, puzzle games are a great way to train your logical thinking skills, improve your memory, and lengthen your attention span.
Similarly, online casino games such as poker or blackjack involve skill-based decision-making and strategies that often involve mathematical calculations. You’ll need to assess the risks and make strategic decisions, which can be mentally challenging. These types of games can also help you make quick decisions under pressure – a very valuable skill that is very useful in the real world.
Then, there are certain types of games – such as simulation and exploration games, that are good for relaxation and mindfulness. Generally, these games have calming and pretty environments that give you a sense of tranquillity. So, for example, games such as “Stardew Valley” or “Animal Crossing” let you create your own virtual little worlds – giving you a real sense of control and accomplishment.
Then, we could potentially factor in VR – virtual reality gaming – which can give you an even more immersive experience, transporting you right into the heart of some of the most breathtaking landscapes – designed to promote relaxation and mindfulness.
Building Your Self-Esteem
If you do start getting better at your game, then it can really boost your self-esteem and bring you all sorts of positive emotions. Successfully completing challenges, reaching the next level, or even hitting a win in an online casino game can put a massive smile on your face. And, what’s more, this can often spill over into real life – building up your self-esteem and self-worth.
Moreover, the sense of competition and mastery that you get when gaming can be a real source of motivation. When you manage to overcome the different obstacles and see even the smallest improvement in your gaming skills, this can really foster a growth mindset, which is great not only when gaming but in your day-to-day life as well.
Put those painkillers away… computer games, especially immersive ones, can be an excellent distraction from physical pain, chronic illnesses, or even mental pain. Playing computer games can take your mind off any discomfort and pain, almost giving you a sort of pain management strategy. This can be especially useful if you’re someone dealing with a chronic condition or recovering from an injury.
Ultimately, while it’s important that you can get that healthy balance between gaming and all other areas of your life, there is now a lot of evidence confirming that playing computer games can have all sorts of positive effects on your mental health. From stress reduction and brain training to relaxation and even pain management, gaming can offer all sorts of mental health benefits.
However, remember – play responsibly and be mindful – as this is important to make sure you get the maximum benefit from these positives – and avoid any negatives that could arise, such as getting hooked on gaming. Like everything in life, moderation is key!