Are Video Games Good For Your Mental Health?
You, like most people, likely have a busy and sometimes stressful life which takes a toll on your mind and body. Either there is just more awareness of the fact that life and its stressors negatively impact mental health or mental health issues are actually on the rise and everyone is having to learn to deal with them. Either way, you have to find healthy ways to deal with your health if you want to be your best self.
Luckily, there are loads of techniques that you can try to manage your mental health. This article attempts to explore the relationship between video games and mental health to find out if video games could have a positive impact on mental health.
The state of mental health
Mental health issues present themselves in many ways ranging from mild to severe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50% of all people will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. Moreover, 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year. It’s not just in the US either. An article by Hopechest suggests that the total cost of treatment for anxiety and depression disorders across 36 countries worldwide is estimated to be $147 billion by 2030. Mental health is not just a passing fancy, it affects everyone in some way, either directly or through the people around you.
Mental health is a term that encompasses a wide range of possible issues including:
Neurodevelopmental disorders; and many more
The good news is that there is a lot less stigma associated with mental health and there are more treatment options available to help people manage their mental health. There have also been some helpful studies that suggest that having fun and taking part in play can be extremely beneficial to your mental health.
How can video games help with mental health?
So are video games good for your mental health?
They can be.
Video games live under the category of fun coping mechanisms and it’s one of the best ways to improve your mental health. Though you might think of fast-paced racer games or high-stakes shooter games, there are a lot of mental health games for adults that can help you find a sense of calm.
A study suggests video games can help mental health, noting that video games provide a place to practice problem-solving, decision-making, and strategic thinking in a low-stakes environment. A lot of stress comes from the responsibilities that people manage in their work and life. Video games allow you to step out of the real world to explore your skills with like-minded gamers.
Mental health affects everyone differently, so you have to find the game that suits your needs or rule out video games completely if it adds to your load. At the end of the day, video games are meant to be fun and should be used to destress, they shouldn’t make you more stressed out. It also shouldn’t become an unhealthy addiction.
3 ways to use video games for mental health
The fact is, everyone has to find ways to deal with the stressors of life, whether they have experienced mental health issues or not. Stress and trauma are part of the human experience and the better placed you are to deal with them, the less chance there is of it snowballing into something unmanageable.
The way we deal with mental health issues is called ‘coping mechanisms’. Playing video games is one of the easiest and most accessible coping mechanisms you can find. Here are three ways that you can benefit from video games.
1. Fun & play
The most obvious benefit is that video games give you a chance to engage in play. Playing games help you to let go of your worries and concerns and enter into a state of flow that can be incredibly rejuvenating. Engaging in playful activities can help to reduce stress, boost your mood, and promote a sense of well-being. Play can also foster creativity, increase problem-solving skills, and improve cognitive function. The games created by AviaGames are a great example of how you can play awesome games and relax your mind from the comfort of your phone.
Depending on the type of game you play, you might be surprised at just how much exercise you can get from playing video games. Some games help with fine motor movement, while others (especially virtual reality games) actually get your whole body moving. ‘Exercise’ includes anything that can help you get out of your mind and into your body and environment. Studies have shown that even short sessions of activity can release powerful endorphins that help to stimulate your brain and improve your mood.
Lastly, some video games help you to find inner calm and give you a chance to slow down. Games like Solitaire or chess, for example, allow you to sit back and relax while you hone your mental muscles. Using mindful games as a tool to manage mental health helps you to switch gears from what is stressing you out, to what is real and tangible in your life. The key to mindfulness is creating a calm, distraction-free environment whether it’s for half an hour in the park or 5 minutes at your desk.
Where to get started
These days, it’s easier than ever to play video games because games like BubbleBuzz, Blackjack, and Solitaire, can be played directly on your phone. Online games don’t have to take long and often last only a few minutes, so you can decompress during a quick break.
If you want to explore games to learn more about video games and mental health, check out AviaGames. There are loads of games to choose from; some familiar and some completely new. All games are advert free so that your brain can be free of distraction and simply get lost in the world of play.