Can Gaming Affect Your Mental Health?

Can Gaming Affect Your Mental Health? © unsplash 2022-06-29 02:57

Video games have long had a bad rap when it comes to mental health. In the past, many have decried video games as an instigator of violent behavior. However, an increasing body of evidence is emerging that suggests video games have a positive impact on mental health. Gaming can help enhance decision-making skills, as well as promote essential mental stimulation. Below, we weigh up the pros and cons of gaming on mental health.

Gaming Boosts the Brain

This ultimately depends on the types of games players are engaging with. However, many titles present players with mentally demanding objectives that can engage parts of the brain not usually stimulated. The good news is that you don't need to be playing perplexing titles to reap the benefits. Even moderately difficult titles can improve brain structure and bolster mental function. This not only makes for better players but improves cognitive ability and mental health.

Gaming Allows People to Connect

Loneliness can wreak havoc on mental health. Those living isolated lives can compensate for a lack of social interaction by engaging with the gaming community. If you're playing multiplayer titles, you can connect with dozens of strangers every day. This can bolster confidence and self-esteem.

If you're playing team-based titles regularly, there's also scope for building long-lasting relationships. Social circles you establish online can translate to conventional friendships.

It's a Stress Buster

At the end of a long day or working week, most of us need help to unwind. For some, this might involve uncorking a bottle of red or breaking out calorific treats. For others, kicking back in front of the television and embarking on a streaming marathon is the preferred route to euphoria. Those looking to engage as they unwind might want to consider gaming. When we play video games, dopamine levels soar. It's often referred to as a pleasure hormone and is incredibly effective at relieving stress.

Avoiding Video Game Addiction

Video game addiction (VGA) is a recognized gaming disorder. Between 1-3% of those who play video games regularly can suffer from it. VGA is largely tied to dopamine production. In most players, this neurotransmitter serves as a stress reliever. In rare instances, it can encourage compulsive and addictive behavior. Self-monitoring is vital here. If you notice that your gaming behavior is impacting your everyday routine, take a step back from the keyboard or console.

Gaming Lets People Express Themselves

Self-expression is important for our mental health. In everyday life, many people struggle to be their true selves. In the virtual space afforded by video games, societal norms and expectations aren't a problem. People may choose to identify with a ready-made fantasy character in an RPG. Skin upgrades provide incredible scope for customization, while many games allow players to create bespoke characters from the ground up.

Final Thoughts

Although people need to be wary about the addiction potential of gaming, the mental health advantages of games far outweigh the bad. If you're looking for instant gratification, stress-busting benefits, and an easy route to self-expression, video games are the way to go. Need some pointers on how to get started? Discover a wealth of gaming terms and find out what does AFK mean at

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