Video Games and Mental Wellness

Video Games and Mental Wellness

Many people ask us why we use video games as a method to de-stress, relax and socialize. Why not just go for a walk, ride a bike, do Yoga?

The answer is really simple, because it’s fun and is what works for us!

Other methods like those mentioned do work for some people, but like gaming, aren’t necessarily for everyone. Some people have physical challenges that keep them from participating in activities like those and video gaming is something that everyone can do, especially now that Microsoft has created an adaptive controller so even more people can enjoy the benefits of video gaming.

Read what our community is saying and some of the research that has been conducted over the last several decades about how gaming helps.

” I have a lot of things on my plate and the day-to-day stressors sometimes get the better of me. Gaming allows me to relax and take my mind off of those daily stressors and re-group. I do some of my best thinking while playing video games, it helps clear my mind and helps me focus.

” Gaming helps me de stress… Its a different kind of stress relief. Not a lot of people think about it as stress relief outlet…. most people think exercise or meditation… not to mention the gaming community can be very supportive. They are usually there for a good laugh or even to pick you up after a bad day [at work]

Studies completed by several noted research and scientific organizations have proven that playing video games could help improve the quality of life for the disabled and mentally ill.

” Video gaming causes increases in the brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning as well as fine motor skills. This has been shown in a new study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus. The positive effects of video gaming may also prove relevant in therapeutic interventions targeting psychiatric disorders.

Original Publication: Kühn, S., Gleich, T., Lorenz, R. C., Lindenberger, U., Gallinat, J. (2013). Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity: Grey matter changes resulting from training with a commercial video game. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/mp.2013.120

Video Gaming offers a means of coping, a way to get into a different headspace where you can reduce levels of stress and anxiety. It also provides a means of socialization especially in cases where people may be home-bound due to disability or that they have anxiety issues that prevent them from going out in public.

” Participants reported games were able to help them cope with feelings of boredom, loneliness and stress, and that their well-being improved because of this. The study ultimately states that this cohort actually were using video games to socialize, relax, and cope.

Wack E, Tantleff-dunn S. Relationships between electronic game play, obesity, and psychosocial functioning in young men. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2009;12(2):241-4.

Video Games are also often used in therapy. Dr. Anthony Bean, a licensed psychologist and executive director at The Telos Project, a nonprofit mental health clinic in Fort Worth, Texas has authored two books on the subject. Working with Video Gamers and Games in Therapy and The Psychology of Zelda: Linking Our World to the Legend of Zelda Series. He has also participated in numerous studies about video gaming and mental health. You can often find him doing a panel at PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) educating the public about it.

There are so many reasons why video gaming is good for you, how it helps bring people closer, builds community, the medical and mental health benefits of it and more. You can read more about it at the links below:

Please feel free to reach out to us and let us know how video games help you. Visit our contact page we would love to hear about it.

If you’re thinking about suicide or worried about someone who might be, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line by messaging 741741 to connect with a local crisis center. Police officers can text the word BLUE.

The Fire/EMS Helpline is 1-888-731-FIRE (3473)

If you are experiencing a physical or mental health emergency please call 9-1-1