Video games and mental health go hand-in-hand, especially in a coronavirus world.
The rampages of Covid-19 have thrust the world into truly uncertain times. With daily appalling developments that have also resulted in uncertain new norms for billions of people worldwide.
For many, this new normal continues to change every day too, and it is not an exaggeration to say many of us are still uncertain over how to survive the remaining months of 2020. Or 2021.
In light of these, video games could be useful solace when it comes to mental health. Not only do they provide a chink of normality in an unstable and threatening global environment, the skills and social benefits cultivated by gameplay could also be highly beneficial for those displaced by economic downturns.
The following is a rundown on how video games can be great for your mental health. Naturally, the entire list is also one good reason why you should pick up gaming.
1. Career Skills and Confidence Booster
Were you retrenched because you worked in an industry that was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, global logistics bottlenecks, or rampant inflation?
Or even if you weren’t, are you worried about possibly being made redundant in the future?
For either situation, you’re probably racked by anxiety over the notion of having to hop onto the job-hunting bicycle again. Needless to say, your self-esteem would have also taken a massive hit, even though the rational side of you understands that redundancy is nothing more than a business decision to save money.
Whichever the scenario, there is no reason to succumb to depression. To survive such tribulations, all that’s necessary is simply to rediscover your mojo and confidence.
For the latter purpose, video games could be a fantastic aid, on top of enhancing your career skills to make you more attractive to future employers.
Work with others online to find treasure. Defeat a dreaded raid boss after careful discussion of strategies with fellow players. Or win an alternate version of WWII as an exemplary general three steps ahead of the enemy.
In essence, the leadership skills cultivated from solving gaming challenges give you the soft skills needed to survive job interviews, with such skills often what employers discreetly hunt for too.
And after winning the job, you can savour the quirky way you did it with! Hey, didn’t you survive all those arduous project management questions, by recalling the time you single-handedly led a raid group to defeat the Lich King in World of Warcraft? How’s that for an ego-booster?
2. Lockdown Boredom
Socially distanced lockdowns bring about many forms of pain, one of which is acute boredom.
You might be working from home, but once work stops, what are you to do?
Binge on Netflix series? Scroll through Facebook feeds? Stare at and like TikTok posts for an hour?
Well, video games are a great way to fill up the hours. While you shouldn’t be playing them all day, every day, daily gameplay can keep your mind active and give you something to look forward to.
Working towards a goal and trying to get to the next level of your favourite platforming classic can likewise provide a sense of purpose quite unlike anything else.
Furthermore, gaming is a fun way to stay in contact with friends! Many titles nowadays allow players to chat with fellow players from across the globe as they play. Zoom call-alike functions are increasingly available too.
Such contact is crucial to keeping mental depression at bay. They also guard against the worst repercussion of boredom; that of isolation.
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Ensuring that you have the right glasses and prescription is crucial if you are to commit to playing every day. While your parents may have tried to terrify you into staying far away from the screen with tales of your eyesight being damaged or waking up with square eyes, there is no evidence that gaming damages eyesight. It all actually depends on whether you are wearing the right glasses.
If anything, gaming can enhance your hand-eye coordination and help keep your brain active. In short, the only way your eyes will suffer is if you do not have the right lens prescription. Or for some reason, just refuse to wear your glasses during gameplaying fest.
4. Widens Your Social Circle
Making friends online is becoming more commonplace than ever. Many people have found lifelong partners through online dating. It is not unheard of for people to get married after completing marathon sessions of Call of Duty online too.
The short of it, you can easily find like-minded people online to interact with. Subsequently, you can also take your conversations away from the Xbox or PlayStation, and onto social media or even a Skype/Zoom call.
By widening your social circle, you additionally safeguard your mental health by combating debilitating sensations of isolation and loneliness. In the future, you can then meet up in person and nurture more fruitful relationships.
5. Brain Food for Mental Health
Even if you don’t own a console, you can still enjoy hours of gaming on smartphones.
These wondrous devices truly lend themselves to the brain training exercises that help to reduce aging and keep you mentally stimulated.
For older players, superior puzzle classics like Tetris and Bejeweled, which can be downloaded from Apple and Play stores as free apps, could also be a great defence against dementia.
Playing these not only switches off negative thoughts, they are a beneficial distraction from coronavirus stats and career worries. A puzzle-based app similar to crosswords likewise prevents the brain from getting too old and creaky.
Best of all, the choice of apps available is mesmerising! You could opt for traditional puzzle games or forward-thinking Zelda-RPG-like formats. Just a word of caution, though great for mental health, most if not all such titles are mildly addictive. Don’t get too carried away.
6. Doing Something New
If you have never been a gamer before, but are tempted by the cheerful graphics of Mario Kart or the realism of FIFA, video games is the opportunity to sample a new experience.
Doing something new always helps to channel negative thoughts and energies into positive avenues. When you are bored at home and lack the motivation to do anything, just buy a second-hand console online for very little money. By doing this, you have discovered a new interest and hobby.
Keeping your brain active, enjoying the thrill of completing a race circuit in record time, or learning how to play Mario Tennis on a retro Wii, can also give you something to look forward to throughout the week. Simply put, you’d no longer be consumed by worry every hour. Something else will occupy you.
Lastly, coupling gaming pursuits with other activities at home helps create a schedule for surviving lockdown days. Having a routine, inclusive of opportunities for gaming, gives your life the structure that has been lacking since coronavirus concerns took hold.
As long you as are mindful of overindulgence, you also wouldn’t turn in a reclusive the likes of often depicted in popular media.
Video games are healthy for you, as long as you don’t overindulge
Video games often receive bad press. You would most certainly have heard stories of players immersing themselves in video gaming environments all day long and losing track of the real world. For example, people who turn on their Xboxes or Switches or PlayStation at 10 AM in the morning. Then forget to eat, or shower, or do daily chores, until bedtime.
What important to note, though, is that overindulgence is the real culprit; not the games themselves. Enjoyed properly, any title could be a stress reliever as well as highly beneficial to mental health. They additionally guard against dangerous embitterment brought on by current global woes.