This is a guest post written by a contributor writer, Dan Fries. Dan is an author and founder of Corpina Nootropics. Dan started his career as a scientist at Medtronic and later Harvard, but didn’t resonate well with the way big pharma develops drugs and treats patients. He wanted to do something that would help improve the health of people who don’t have access to premium care. That’s when he started Corpina, with a mission to inform the world about responsible brain health and supplementation.
I didn’t receive any money for posting this article up and I thought it was an interesting take in the direction of Mental Health in Gaming. So enjoy what Dan has written up just for our website! -RealBlankspace
Right from our younger years, we’ve been constantly nagged by parents about the dangers of playing video games. And this continues even now, when your partner or kids stand between your gaming session with Lara Croft, especially when you are about to solve the puzzle leading to the Lost City of Kitzeh in the Rise of Tomb Raider game.
Seriously, I would rather spend time with Lara Croft in her quest or with Batman in his crime-fighting agenda of stopping Scarecrow in Arkham Knight. But like always I end up switching off my Xbox and returning back to my normal adventure-less life.
Well, guess what, it turns out that all those hours you spent in playing Metal Gear Solid and Call of Duty has helped you become more stress-free and relaxed than non-gamers. And now, there is actual research and science to back it up.
Many people are not aware of the fact that for years, video games have provided various benefits like better decision making skills, improved motor skills, and sometimes even better vision. It is also not surprising that they can help you manage stress. So, if you are rushing to your home to play a game of Halo or Super Mario after work, you are simply kicking stress out of your life.
Removing Mental Breakdown
There are various researches and studies being carried out to find out the major link between video games and stress relief. However, from the results and the work done so far, only a few theories to support it and explain why video games can be the best stress relievers.
Many people especially psychologist and medical researchers believe depression, stress, and other kinds of mental disorders are as a result of “patterned” thinking. You know, everyday you wake up feeling like “It is just another day” and follow the same boring routine.
Slowly, your mind gets accustomed to the pressure and common stressors that occur each day. So, you are always living in the state of stress. Video games break this pattern and provide a mental “breather” to your mind. Here, it’s all about refocusing the brain on something else and getting it to a different zone.
An Excellent Therapeutic For Kids With Chronic Illnesses
A study was released by the University of Utah regarding the effects regular gaming have on children who are diagnosed with medical condition like depression, Parkinson, and autism. In this experiment, kids who played games, including the ones which were created for the study showed great signs of self-empowerment and improvement in their resilience, and fighting spirit.
Researchers believe that specific games have the ability to charge the neuronal mechanisms which activates the reward system and positive emotion. This helps in improving the demeanors of the kids as they face the daily challenges of everyday life.
Improving Motor Skills Of Preschoolers
Allowing a four or five year old to play games might not be considered as a productive activity. However, the research work done by the scientist of Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia disagrees with this. As per their study conducted on 53 preschool aged kids, those who were playing interactive games had better “object control motor skills” compared to those who didn’t.
Relief From Pain
Besides relief from emotional pain, video games help people who are suffering from physical pain too. Using the age-old tactic of distraction, psychologists at the University of Washington created a game which assisted people who were suffering from physical pain. The game Snow World is a virtual reality game where the patients are in arctic wonderland and they have to use their arsenal of snowballs to hit a series of targets like snowmen and penguins.
Various military medical centers in US used this game to help soldiers recover from battlefield wounds. It was found out that soldiers who were playing Snow World needed less pain medicine during recuperation.
Improving Decision Making Skills
Various video games like Grand Theft Auto, Simcity, Age of Empires, StarCraft, and Commandos require the players to make swift reactions and spilt-second decisions. Each decision made can create a huge difference between the virtual death and virtual life. The cognitive neuroscientists at the University of Rochester in New York feel such games provide the players’ mind plenty of practice for making decisions in the real world.
Along with playing video games, some people try the cognitive-enhancing supplements called nootropics, which help the brain to work faster, harder, and better, thereby providing overall better results. An increasing number of people have confidence in nootropics like Modafinil and Phenibut, which help them relax, focus and improve their overall quality of life.
A little research and approval from your doctor will be the best thing to do before you start using these anti-anxiety supplements.
So, the next time you feel stressed out and need a break, try playing video games. It’s not necessary to go out and buy an Xbox One or PS4 for relieving your stress, as you can sit at your desk and play a game of Angry Birds instead on your smartphone. Mobile games could ease your stress and help sharpen both your mind and body.