Video games sometimes get a bad rap, especially when mentioned in the context of socialization and mental health. Violent video games are said to lead to aggressive behavior. In the same manner, extremely disturbing games have been said to affect one’s mental faculties.
In the other end of the spectrum, it has also been established that video games can have positive effects on the mental health. In fact, numerous studies have shown that gaming can actively reduce stress, both in adults and kids. Here are ways that gaming can help you cope with stressors:
Gaming Takes Your Mind Off Real Life
Let’s face it, real life can be a drag. You wake up early, go through the nightmare of commute, spend up to nine hours in front of a computer or with people you hardly like, go through another battle at the bus or train station, and then pass out in bed. You do this day in and day out, five times a week—six, for the unlucky few.
By playing games, you get to step out of your mundane life and into a different world. Your daily anxieties ebb away with each new mission, each new persona you embody. Since going into actual vacations is often impossible for nine-to-fivers, an hour or so of playing games is the next best thing.
Gaming Offers a Way to Work through Frustrations
Being a tax-paying and rule-abiding member of the human race can be really difficult sometimes. You often face situations that are extremely frustrating, but because you are a decent human being, you can’t lash out.
This is where gaming helps. Going through missions where you can defeat enemies is one healthy way to work through your frustrations. In relation to this, gaming also offers you a way through which you discover how you can deal with anger. This, in turn, gives you added skills for coping with the stressors of real life.
Gaming Provides Positive Visual and Auditory Stimuli
In the three decades that video games have grown and developed, their beauty also continued an upward progress. These days, video game worlds are breathtaking. They are made by teams of artists from all over the world over a period of months and years.
Gaming Gives You Feelings of Achievement and Progress
Real life doesn’t give us wins all the time. Even if you play your cards right, there is never a guarantee of accolades or progress.
But with video games, leveling up is always assured. Sure you will be beaten once in a while, but you are certain that if you keep playing, and playing right, you will eventually be rewarded. And when you are rewarded, a part of your brain is triggered to increase dopamine production, thereby making you feel happier.
Gaming Stimulates the Brain
While it’s nice for our mind to take a break now and then, prolonged disuse is never good. Some people find unproductivity stressful. Sure there are many hobbies you can do to stimulate the mind, and gaming is always a good idea.
The mental stimulant aspect of playing is especially helpful for Type A personalities. These types of people can never turn off their need to achieve. In fact, not doing anything might give them anxiety. Thankfully, video games can satiate their hunger for achievements and accolades.
It has been established that gaming does help you cope with stress. But it should also be mentioned that, when playing, keep the following adage in mind: too much of a good thing is bad. If you choose to turn to video games for relaxation each night, be sure you do so for only short periods of time. Otherwise, this stress-coping method could backfire, causing sleepless nights that will negatively affect your daily life.