Gaming’s positive impact on health

By William Davis

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Jul 20, 2023

Reading time: 5 min

Video games don’t enjoy a great reputation when it comes to health benefits. Although reviews of how gaming affects a person are mixed, that also means they can have a positive impact if used correctly. 

Gaming promotes social interaction and can help build players’ reflexes, attention. It’s also a form of meditation to some, providing help in mental health stability.

Having fun playing

Not all people have company for games, and some might not even enjoy multiplayer titles. The great thing about gaming is that you can have fun playing alone. Platformers like Crash Bandicoot or Super Mario are excellent for practicing reflexes and hand-eye coordination while completing beautifully designed levels.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you enjoy card games, you’ll find blackjack, poker, and other options at the best online casinos. That said, casino games can have a negative impact on your life and mental health, so approach them with caution.

Promoting social interaction via gaming

Apart from single-player games, there are many multiplayer titles that can help you work on your social skills. If you enjoy sports, you can gather your friends and organize a session of playing FIFA 23 at home. You can make an evening out of it and strengthen the bonds with people close to you.

A huge range of games also has online multiplayer modes. These encourage virtual social interaction, which can help you be more comfortable talking to strangers. Simple online games like Ludo Club come with a chat feature, and they give you time to meet new people and make friends.

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Improving cooperation and social skills

While we are talking about the social aspects of the games, strengthening bonds with others could also be done via co-op games. Overcooked 2 is a fun and chaotic co-operational game with vivid graphics. It’s ideal for parents and children, couples, and anyone else, especially since it supports up to four players. Many other games also have co-operational modes, such as Minecraft or A Way Out. It’s all about finding the genre that works for you.

Other social skills that multiplayer games could develop also include learning whom to trust and how to recognize when someone is trying to fool you. Many games come with these aspects and require you to determine who your associates are and who’s working for another team. It’s an excellent practicing environment to try different aspects of interaction with people and become better at social relationships.

Feeling of accomplishment

Video games pose a challenge and set tasks you have to complete to move on to the next level or section. The difficulty depends on the settings you choose but also the player’s skills. 

Provided you pick the games with just the right difficulty, gaming can help with a person’s mental health recovery. The idea is to present a challenge that’s solvable but with some effort implemented. Each time the player completes a certain level, they will feel accomplished. Many games also award badges and trophies to make players feel good. Completing these achievements can make a player feel better and act as a confidence booster, which can play an important role in mental health.

Building dedication

Winnings in video games don’t come easy unless you intentionally pick certain settings. It’s more fun when you can’t beat a game easily, but it can be frustrating if you fail to complete a level. Despite being annoyed at the moment, you are likely to keep trying because you see that you have the chance to win and the goal isn’t far away.

That’s how video games build emotional resilience, which plays a crucial role in a person’s well-being. You can learn that failures are part of the game and life. The critical thing is to pick yourself up and keep trying, and you will eventually succeed.

Stimulating brain

Mental stimulation is an important part of video games, and many titles can help improve cognitive skills as players need to analyze the game’s different aspects, create a strategy, and adjust it on the go. You can improve observational skills by trying to identify wanted items in some games or applying complex problem-solving to come up with solutions to the tasks the game presents.

And the best part is you can choose complexity, making video games suitable for any age. For example, elderly people might enjoy solving jigsaw puzzles or crosswords. Younger might prefer more complex titles like Portal, The Wolf Is Among Us, or L.A. Noire.

Tips on how to play “the healthy way”

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Experiencing and maximizing the positive effects of video games on mental health is only possible if you develop good habits around this hobby. Here are some tips to consider when playing video games:

  • Place time limits. Some say over ten hours per week is too much, while others believe a single session shouldn’t last more than 2-3 hours. 
  • Make sure it doesn’t affect your life. It’s best to adjust the playing time to your age and how it affects the rest of your life. If you feel that you see playing as an escape and it’s leading you into loneliness and isolation, it’s time to slow down.
  • Pick the right genre. The general rule is to avoid too violent titles, such as strictly shooter games. If you want to challenge mental health, focus on strategy and problem-solving titles. Platformers are a good way to work on your reflexes and hand-eye movement.
  • Play with someone. While playing alone can be fun, the multiplayer aspect often improves the experience. You can occasionally invite friends for a session or visit online gaming halls and test yourself against other players.

Certain prejudices still exist regarding the impacts of video games on mental health. However, many studies prove that gaming can positively affect a person’s well-being and assist in dealing with mental disorders. The secret of success lies in choosing the right genres and games – that will maximize the odds of games having a positive impact. 

Also, it’s vital to keep playing at moderate levels. Depending on the person, that could be as little as 15 minutes, and the experts believe nobody should play longer than two or three hours per session. The idea is for other aspects of your life not to be influenced. If you keep that under control and pick games that positively affect mental health, you’ll get the most benefits out of gaming sessions.

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