10 Powerful Ways Playing Games Boost Your Mental Abilities

Can playing games develop your mental abilities?
Can playing games develop your mental abilities?

Gaming can do a lot of great things for your mental abilities. Not just video games, but card games and board games too.

You might not be conscious of these benefits when playing but be assured that your brain is indeed benefiting in more ways than one. In turn, an awareness of how you are developing your mental abilities through games might change how you play and even how much you play each day.

In this list, we take a look at some of the major ways that games can help to develop your cognitive and mental abilities. You’ll find all of the following to be pretty incredible. You will certainly be awed, too, by what is happening to your mind when you are gaming in any sort of way.

1. A Source of Relaxation

One of the main ways in which games can help you mentally is by being a reliable source of relaxation. Being able to relax is not only enjoyable but also vital for your mental faculties. This is something that everyone should bear in mind.

When you have a good source of relaxation to rely on, it moreover helps you in other mental developments, on top of assisting your body and brain in refreshing themselves. It is at once a good way to unwind and relax, and great at helping you to focus, so it’s a complete win-win.

Not to mention, the games to play for relaxation don’t need to be complex to be beneficial. Just playing some solitaire on your own can be enough to enjoy this benefit.

2. Improving Focus

Further on focus, playing games significantly sharpens your ability to concentrate. If you play games regularly, you will probably find that they greatly improve your ability to focus, which is one of the most important elements in being able to think and plan well in the long run.

With good focusing abilities, you can subsequently attempt pretty much anything in life, simply because you can concentrate on whatever you’re doing much more effectively.

In turn, being able to focus can translate to achieving a lot more each day. So playing games can be a really useful and beneficial boost for efficiency too.

Improve Strategic Thinking Through Playing Games
Playing games transforms you into a strategic thinker. [Credit – CCO License]

3. Developing Strategic Thinking

If you are able to play games well, it likely means that you have developed a strong ability to think strategically. This is a benefit that most games will offer you in one way or another, with some titles, particularly good for it.


Chess is an obvious example, though hardly the only one by any means. With good strategic thinking, you can solve puzzles a lot more easily and readily. In some cases, with much less frustration too.

To further appreciate the power of this benefit, consider that it has applications beyond just literal puzzles – and that much of what you do in your daily life is a kind of puzzle too. If you can think strategically, you are essentially much more able and comfortable in attempting resolutions of the sticky situations you cannot avoid in life.

This is a hugely important and powerful boon. One that’s great to know about too.

4. Making Use of Neuroplasticity

A lot of the mental benefits of playing games come down to something known as neuroplasticity.

This is essentially the brain’s ability to change over time. It’s also something that happens whenever you learn anything, which is why doing something repeatedly makes it easier.

Games help you to develop cognitively by making use of your natural neuroplasticity in this way, and this can prove to be hugely beneficial in its own right.

Simply put, the more you use your brain, the better it gets at this more “plastic” approach to things. Your brain will also change more and more easily over time. Ultimately, you might even find it easier to learn lots of new things. I’m sure you will agree this is an incredibly important benefit.

Improve hand-eye coordination with video games
Even a straightforward game like Mario Kart requires significant hand-eye coordination. [Credit – CCO License]

5. Building Hand-Eye Coordination

One of the more famous claims about gaming is that it can help to build up and train your hand-eye coordination.

But is this true? Well actually, yes, it does seem to be the case that playing video games can help to build your hand-eye coordination. Some games are certainly going to be more effective for this than others, too, but generally, most video games will train you in this aspect in some way or another.

Such training will then be useful in many other areas of life. For instance, if you play a sport, you’ll certainly find such “auxiliary” training helpful, if not crucial. Like some Anime characters, you might even develop special strategies for your sport based on your gaming experience.

Playing games improves perception abilities
Board games often require you to “read” your opponent’s mind through visual cues. [Credit – CCO License]

6. Improving Perception

Every tried FPS video games? In any, you will have to be on your toes every second, scanning everything that happening on screen. Otherwise, it’s a game over for you right away.

The same could also be said for certain card and board games. You don’t have to be ready for things popping out from behind trees. But you do have to learn to detect body language, non-verbal cues, and so on.

In other words, your perceptual abilities are going to be improved by gaming. This is something that you will certainly want to be aware of if you are trying to understand how games can help you out.

Having strong perception is furthermore useful in a wide range of instances and life experiences. Not to mention, it’s a cognitive improvement you will always benefit from.

The more games you play, especially visual ones, the better your perception is generally going to be. You might soon notice that you are picking up on visual cues much more easily and effectively in general. Hey, with enough practice, you could even be the next Sherlock Holmes, able to discern the most inconspicuous details in any room.

7. Speeds Up Thinking and Cognition

In general, playing games helps to speed up your thinking. With such “training,” you can then react much more quickly in your daily life and under many different circumstances. The benefit of this is obvious.

Part of the joy of this is also that you can apply that straight away to the games you are playing; correspondingly, increasing your ability at them. This not only makes your games more enjoyable in general but also means that you are going to be able to make so much more of them.

Video Games and Memory Training
Do you hate remembering what to do what before what and during when only? It’s a common task during games but it does wonders for your memory.[Credit – CCO License]

8. Boosting Memory

There is a lot of research that seems to suggest a link between playing games and memory. In short, the belief is that you stand to develop a considerably stronger memory if you are playing a lot of games.

Skeptical? Consider this. Many MMORPGs require complex strategies to defeat raid bosses. How are you going to win a raid if you cannot remember what your class should do and what you should not? Playing games trains your brain in this way over the long run.

Without a doubt, a strong memory is also a great thing to have and something that you are going to want to make sure you are utilizing for life. In fact, a great memory is useful for so many aspects of life that it is hard to overstate how important it is.

With a boost to your memory, you’ll be able to learn more effectively too. This itself partly explains why playing games could be beneficial to all forms of education, rather than detrimental as it is commonly believed.

9. Better Critical Thinking

In essence, critical thinking is the ability to step back and look at problems in a unique way.

It’s a skill and mindset that’s phenomenally useful in a lot of different problem-solving scenarios. In the modern working world, the ability to think critically is also frequently stated as a must-have skill during job interviews, project discussions, etc.

As for what games would develop better critical thinking, that’s not just restricted to puzzle games like everybody’s (still) favourite Candy Crush. Platformers, open-world titles, and even RPGs that require creative resolutions of tasks will benefit you too.

Play enough of these and you’ll find yourself a better problem solver in no time. Possibly, a faster one too.

10. Creativity & More

This last benefit is well-known. You might have already noticed it too, if you’re a regular gamer.

Playing games can improve your creativity.

Lots of games require you to use creative strategies and skills to solve puzzles, beat bosses, discover treasures, etc. When you regularly exercise your creativity this way, you will find yourself developing more and faster in this aspect too.

In the long run, you might even start looking at the world and your problems in a wholly different way.

Conclusion: Yes, Playing Games is Great For Your Mental Health and Abilities!

The above are ten ways playing games can help to develop and considerably improve your mental abilities. Don’t you agree all are absolutely worth knowing and thinking about when you are playing your favorites titles?

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10 Powerful Ways Playing Games Boost Your Mental Abilities
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10 Powerful Ways Playing Games Boost Your Mental Abilities
Can playing games boost your mental abilities? Yes, it can! It is indeed an enjoyable and beneficial way to work your brain.

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