Improving Mental Health through Online Game Play

4 mn read

It is not a secret anymore; the continued rise in fear of video games since the 1980s has led to a baffling stigma over the past few decades. Don’t even try to deny it. Many see online gaming as a waste of time or, worse, guilty pleasure. 

So, let’s cut online gamers some slack. 

Can Online Gaming Improve Mental Health?

Look, video games act as good distractors from pain and psychological trauma. Online gaming can also help people with mental disorders like anxiety, depression, ADHD and PTSD by ensuring mental health recovery.

It is shocking but, yes. In line with research done by experts at Oxford University, online gaming helps keep gamers mental health in check. 

More, they discovered that different online gaming experiences have a positive boost to mental health. The study showed players exhibiting a high sense of well-being, mental energy, and online gaming chat rooms have also proved beneficial.

These findings have helped shift the focus and discuss whether online gaming can be good for us and our brains. 

What’s the Science?

Only 0.3% of gamers may find it difficult to control the time they spend gaming. And while Britons believe gaming is addictive, the addiction clinic business would boom across all quarters.

Yet, numerous private clinics in the UK treat gaming disorders.

Mental Health Benefits of Online Gaming

Playing computer games has numerous benefits for your mental health. They include:

  • Mental stimulation
  • Feeling of accomplishment
  • Mental health recovery
  • Social interaction
  • Emotional Resilience.

Feeling Accomplished

Most games have a goal or, for lack of a better word, pre-set objectives. Winning gives players a sense of fulfilment. 

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It is more fulfilling when you unlock levels, given trophies or badges for levels reached. It gives gamers something to work hard for, hence productive.

Mental Health Recovery

Regardless of the type, online gaming can help with trauma recovery. Computer games can also act as distractions from stress and psychological trauma.

Social Interaction

Online games, more so multiplayer, are essential for virtual social interaction. Within the game, you will need to know who to trust. Therefore, customize respective game settings to get better placed for winning.

Multiplayer games inspire cooperation. It also fosters friendships and bonding amongst players through chats.

Emotional Resilience

Failure in any form of competition can be a daunting experience. Online games help players learn how to cope with failure and not give up. Nevertheless, it is a vital learning tool for children helping them grow into productive youths.

Other than having a lasting effect, gaming online helps boost your mood. It’s a great option whether you are using computer games to blow off some steam or making friends.

Mental Stimulation

Video games help you think as almost every part of your brain is tasked with a specific function. Therefore, helping you achieve higher-level thinking. Depending on the complexity of the game, you will have to plan, strategize and act fast. It helps you improve and develop your critical thinking skills.

How to Achieve a Positive Mental Health through Online Gaming

Ensure to play for your well-being. It is presumed that violent games like first-person shooters are harmful to your mental health. But don’t get me wrong, all video games may be beneficial for various reasons:

  • Strategic video games
  • Set limits
  • Play with friends

Strategic Video Games

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There is no proven research that says violent games are harmful to your health. Also, turn-taking and other types of games can help improve your problem-solving skills. 

Almost any game that requires critical thinking and decision making are a boost to your mental health.

Set Limits

Even though video games are not bad for your mental health, getting too addicted can be a problem. Spending too much time playing games online can lead to isolation.

When you discover you are using video games as an escape tool from people, you need to step back. And if the addiction problem persists, you may want to contact a mental health professional.

Play With Friends

As an online gamer, make the game time a fun experience by playing with friends. There are several online communities you can access for your favorite games. It is essential as it helps with social life, relaxation and managing anxiety.

Online Gaming Moods Red-flags

Online gaming starts being deleterious when playing excessively. Playing computer games for more than 12 hours per week is considered excessive. The aspect of gaming mindfulness is said to be ignored.

In this case, you may start to:

  • Have anxious feelings
  • Lack of sleep
  • Antisocial traits.

Will the stigma ever end? Terming computer games as a guilty pleasure; ostensibly, there are more complex games and those meant for entertainment, or rather, good and bad games. In the gaming marketplace, developers try to ensure there is something for everyone; that everyone is happy. Game developers have recently started to address the issue of mental health in the newly designed computer games. According to a market research firm Newzoo, there are circa 3 billion gamers in the world. And through this, you find that not everyone is a movie or TV person.

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Sasha Webster is an Eat News correspondent in the UK. Her writing and professional background as a publicist for close to 10 years gave her an advantage in her work. She can produce bespoke website content that is useful to the target audience; matters business and finance, technology, real estate, healthcare, as well as entertainment pieces.


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