Mental health can be improved in several ways and different methods work for different people.
For some it’s through healthy eating and exercise, some might enjoy a sunny walk with some fresh air, and for others it’s console gaming. Here’s how gaming in moderation can help improve your mental health.
Study by Oxford confirms it improves mental health
A recent study by Oxford academics has proven that video gaming can be a benefit to mental health. The study focused on players of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing and EA’s Plants vs Zombies who had reported that the more they played, the better their wellbeing was.
However, video games aren’t always seen as a positive by most.
The stereotypes around gaming
When you think of the stereotypical gamer, you might think of someone who sits in their messy room all day playing Call of Duty and being waited on hand and foot. But that isn’t always the case.
There has long been debates about the effects of video gaming on young minds and whether certain games should be available for youngsters to play. Games that surround gun crime and violence are often mentioned in cases of attacks and have been said to influence people into doing bad things.
However, games aren’t all that bad and sometimes they bring people together in positive ways.
Gaming charities and cafes
With gaming being a popular part of today’s culture, many health and wellbeing charities like Young Minds have promoted the benefits of gaming and how it can help you to relieve stress, escape reality for a while and work as a coping mechanism to provide a sense of calm.
There has also been a recent rise in gaming cafes and bars. The aim of these venues is to allow avid gamers and new players to socialise together in a safe and friendly environment, to encourage them to spend time with their friends, have fun and let loose for a while. These provide a great alternative to a night out at the club and often have days dedicated to certain games, so that you can get to know the community and have regular meet ups with fellow gaming fans.
How it improves mental health
Gaming can help improve mental health in several ways, including:
- Reducing the amount of anxiety someone has by letting them disconnect for a while and focus on something else.
- Allowing people to de-stress in a safe and healthy way rather than with violence, drugs, or alcohol.
- Provides a sense of community and allows them to speak to and make friends, whether face to face in a gaming café or online.
- Works as a coping mechanism and provides common ground for you to speak to others in similar situations.
- Gives a sense of achievement as you commit to a game and complete it.
Some people see gaming as a great way to stay focused and set goals. For some, having the latest console to aid their gaming is important. By trading in their current console for newer models, they can stay up to date with the gaming community and adapt with it as the technology changes, meaning that the sense of community will always be there.
However, you use gaming to help your mental wellbeing, remember to game responsibly and to take regular breaks from looking at the screen so not to damage your eyes, and always seek professional help when you need it.