Can video games be good for your mental health?

Video games are often much maligned, with many people seeing them as detrimental to both mental and physical health - the typical stereotype of a gamer is someone who stays inside all day playing games, looking at screens and getting little exercise. However, this stereotype is widely outdated and is generally untrue for most gamers, with research emerging recently to show that video games can actually have a positive effect on your overall mental health.

Mental stimulation

The very nature of video games means that they are naturally interactive, forcing the player to make decisions and interact with the gaming environment. This stimulates the brain, improving critical thinking skills, regardless of the game being played. More complex games or games based around puzzles will stimulate the brain even more, showing that gaming can be highly beneficial to mental health.

The social aspects of video games

The advent of online multiplayer gaming means that gamers can pick up their controllers and play with people from around the world at the drop of a hat. Nowadays, people make lifelong friends this way and it's easier to make friends with people who share a niche interest with you, such as multiplayer video games. Multiplayer games encourage cooperation and trust, helping to create bonds with other people, which is a fantastic way for gamers to interact socially with others, whilst enjoying their hobby at the same time.

A feeling of accomplishment

As humans beings, it's important to have goals and aims to strive for, giving purpose to our lives. Video games usually have a set amount of goals to reach, with Microsoft & Sony both having their own separate trophy/achievement goals for more hardened gamers to strive for. This instils a feeling of accomplishment within most gamers, which may push them to want to achieve more goals outside of the gaming world, which is definitely a positive thing! This is one of the more surprising mental health benefits of gaming, affecting both your gaming life and your public life in a positive manner.

Whilst there will always be aspects of video games that can negatively impact your mental health (for example, video game addiction), these are rare and the benefits clearly far outweigh the positives.

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