How Can Video Games Improve Physical or Mental Health?
It’s almost impossible for you not to have heard or read somewhere that video games are a bit bad for your health. I think this largely stems from the fact that people tend to see gamers as those that don’t precisely like social interaction or loners, as you would call it. At the same time, there are some adverse effects from playing too much as it may influence badly. It might surprise you to know that there are many benefits to be derived from spending those hours playing games. A lot of research indicates some of the enormous benefits one can enjoy from playing video games. It doesn’t matter if you play video games, strategy games, blackjack, roulette, or you prefer WMS slots online; there are tonnes of mental or physical benefits to be derived from playing video games. So let’s dive into it already.
- Mental stimulation
- Feeling accomplished
- Stress Reduction and Ease Depression
- Improved eyesight
- Cope with loneliness and build coping mechanism
- Improved Decision Making
- Increased Knowledge
- Community Building
Mental stimulation is probably the most apparent benefit of playing video games. Video games often require a lot of mental analysis and exercise to overcome stages, defeat the final villain, beat your previous high score, or win in the Fire Queen slot. If you have ever done any of those, you would know how much thinking is required to navigate your way to winning. Playing video games requires deep mental stimulation, with some games designed purposely to do just that. In addition, some games are so complex that you need to develop proper strategies to pass a certain level. In conclusion, this kind of thought process helps the brain develop, and over time, it leads to increased critical thinking skills. Various studies have also proven that the amount of dopamine released while playing video games can be compared to an intravenous injection of stimulant drugs.
Why do you play games? This question always comes to the mind of non-gamers when they see an adult or even kids gushing over a particular event in the course of playing video games. One thing that video games have been able to do is allow players to interact with game characters like they are regular human beings on the street. Most video games come with specific goals and targets that need to be achieved, and players have to spend a chunk of their time creating strategies to meet those objectives. The feeling of actually achieving those targets, especially when they seem almost impossible at first, is one the best feelings in the world. The good thing is that this feeling goes beyond the game to affect virtually every area of the gamers life. This sense of accomplishment can, in most cases, help boost confidence and propel players even to overcome more hurdles in day-to-day endeavours.
This fact may probably end up being the most surprising of them all, but the crazy part is that it’s actually very true. While the saying too much of everything works here because you can hurt your eyes from staring at a screen for far too long. Still, video games, especially action games, can, in fact, help increase the sensitivity in your eyes to movement and contrast. This would go a very long way, increasing not just your eyesight but your reaction to certain situations. According to research, this phenomenon is called the contrast sensitivity function, which allows people to discern even the most subtle changes in shades of grey against a uniformly coloured background. It also helps with tracking objects faster because, why won’t it? Imagine playing a game like Warcraft, and you have hundreds of characters literally on the screen that you have to account for. With time you tend to pick up even the most subtle objects faster because of the way your eyesight has improved over time.
Video games reduce stress and depression
Have you heard of the saying “transferred aggression”? That’s literally what video gamers with mental health issues like stress or depression do when they have the opportunity of holding that game part. The good part of this is that keeping playing helps to reduce those factors that led to the mental issues in the first place. Let’s face it, the primary reason why most people play games is to have entertainment. So what better way to relieve yourself of the pile of stressful situations and thoughts you are facing than actually doing what you like, which is also fun? By being involved in an online community of other gamers, they have been able to connect with others, which has given them a feeling of belonging to something that really matters.
Cope with loneliness and build coping mechanism
Let’s be honest here, it’s cool to have a long list of people that you can call your friends, but they won’t always be around you every single time. There would surely be times when you would feel and be lonely. Those are the moments when funny ideas start popping in your head. Having a list of video games not only solves that problem but also allows you to entertain yourself. Now you are not only solving the problem of being alone, but you are coping with it in the best way possible. Also, since most games are actually developed to make you solve complex issues, playing video games would better equip your mind to deal with real-life difficulties.
As they are fondly called, interactive games or role-playing games have consistently been the focus of researchers in recent times. The reason for this is quite simple, can gamers learn new skills or get knowledge from playing interactive games? Most of them allow players to take on a new life in games as they try to navigate through the storyline that the games provide. They would need to quickly learn to adjust to “life”, which is quite different from their lives in the real world. In doing this, they learn new knowledge or skills that were previously unknown to them. Also, some video games are based on real-life events or some historical events. They take on the role of explaining a historical event or character, which allows players to learn something new in a fun way.
Improves decision making
While most video games require players to make decisions in split seconds, some are created so decisions can literally be made in nanoseconds. Take, for instance, the game Legend of Zelda; the game’s speed is something that most hard-core gamers have always had issues keeping up with for years. Imagine what it would do to the brain of an average gamer that decides to play the game for a month. Some games are a replica of real-life events, and in playing them, gamers are given a feel of what they would have to do in real life. Over time this would evolve to include every area of life as the goal would be to do things in the fastest and most effective way humanly possible for it to be done.
Learning from errors
If you have been playing games for a while now, there’s no escaping losing a few times or maybe more than a few times to be factual. A wrong move can ruin a strategy that you have spent hours putting into motion. Most strategy games are a learning curve for most people trying to learn from their mistakes when playing. What this does in real-time is a mould that never dies attitude in the mind of gamers. It may just seem like passing a level in candy crush. Still, when you keep playing, you would definitely notice that you would develop a thick skin for real-life failures as you would see it as something that you are used to playing games and would be more willing to try out a different strategy to make it a reality. In essence, video games help people learn how to cope with failure and keep trying.
Brings people closer
In a world where people are more interested in the number of likes they get on a picture than the quality of social interactions they have with others, video games are helping to shorten that gap, at least to the gaming community. Multiplier games like Clash of Clans or PUBG have helped some people build a network of people they wouldn’t have been able to build with offline relationships. In addition, some games require cooperation and teamwork before meeting specific gaming objectives. This kind of objective requires that players in a gaming community learn to trust each other. Even though these are low-stakes environments, turning out won’t exactly hurt like in real-life situations. Also, it helps friends connect more as they learn to socialize, relax and manage stress together.
Video games are fun, and they offer much more than most people give them credit for. While gaming too much can be detrimental to one’s health, especially in the long run. In fact, there are a lot of benefits to be derived from playing video games. On the one hand, it helps one feel accomplished, especially if you have been stuck at a particular level for some time. On the other hand, while this might also come as a surprise given extensive research on how too much screen time can affect the eyes, video games can help one improve their eyesight in many ways.
Another positive effect gaming does on one’s mental health is that it helps people grow thick skins by learning from their mistakes. Although games are full of obstacles, and it’s alright to lose once, in a while, the most important thing is to keep trying again. This persistent spirit is one of the benefits of playing video games. So gaming doesn’t only work wonders on overall mental health, but it also does a lot for the physical well-being of gamers.
Again, it would be best to play video games in moderation as too much of everything is bad. Time limits should be allocated to each gaming session per day. It should never be a substitute for offline relationships, as this could actually lead to depression if not properly managed.