We hear much about how gaming makes people angry and irritable, but that’s usually more down to the individual than the game itself. In fact, there’s a lot of research that shows gaming has great benefits for kids as they grow up, and for adults in their spare time. So much so that you’ll find major publications like The Metro talking about how much they can help us learn and improve our minds.
Through games, people build meaningful relationships that they may not have found elsewhere in life. They develop cognitive skills through problem-solving puzzles, improve their quick time reactions through online gaming, and also find a way to unwind that improves their mental health.
Oftentimes, playing a game can serve as a good way to direct emotions and energy that could otherwise hang negatively over you for the rest of the day. There are even research papers discussing the use of video games as therapy, with one quote from the paper saying: “The structural characteristics of games may provide unique affordances that traditional therapies do not offer”.
There are other studies too. One from the National Library of Medicine about the role of video games in improving health-related outcomes (wordy title, right?) discusses how gaming can help across the board. The kicker? Out of 195 health outcomes, gaming improved 69% of psychological therapy outcomes. There were other impressive results too from the study, with an even 50% of physical health outcomes also seeing improvement, which is amazing.
So how do we use gaming to help us unwind at the end of a long day? We often try to sleep with a busy and distracted mind, only to stare up at the ceiling for hours on end. This is another area gaming may help with. Another study found that, while there is no change to sleep efficiency (how long we’re asleep in bed) there is a difference in the sleep latency (how long it takes to fall asleep) time. It’s shorter! Plus, there’s the added bonus of increased REM sleep, which you can read more about in our Sleep Encyclopedia.
Gaming has many therapeutic benefits and cutting it out of your life entirely would mean missing out on all these good boosts it can give to your wellbeing. Plus, the added benefit of gaming helping you get a good night’s sleep can’t be overlooked!