It’s no secret that gaming can be addictive. For some, the allure of escaping into a virtual world is too strong to resist. But many people don’t know that gaming can also have surprisingly positive mental health effects.
Let’s take a closer look at how gaming can help heal psychological trauma, enrich social lives, and provide a much-needed distraction from mental health challenges.
Reduce Stress Levels
One of the most common ways people use video games is to blow off some steam after a long day. And it turns out there’s some science to back up this claim. A study from the University of Saskatchewan found that people who played video games had lower levels of stress hormones than those who didn’t play.
Playing a game can help distract from whatever is causing stress in the first place. For some people, this can be a healthy way to deal with stressors in their life. But it’s important to remember that gaming should not be used as a way to avoid dealing with problems. If you find yourself using video games as a crutch, it may be time to talk to a mental health professional.
Help Heal Psychological Trauma
For some people, gaming can be more than just a way to relax. It can also be a way to help heal psychological trauma. PTSD is a serious problem that can be debilitating for those who suffer from it. But some evidence suggests that gaming can help people with PTSD work through their trauma.
A 2019 study found that playing Tetris can help reduce intrusive memories in people with PTSD. The study found that playing the game just one time can help reduce the frequency and intensity of PTSD symptoms.
Enhance Social Skills and Relationships
For many people, social interactions can be challenging. But gaming can actually help introverts and people with social anxiety practice their social skills. Because games require players to interact with each other, they can provide a safe space for people to practice socializing.
In addition to helping people practice their social skills, gaming can also enhance existing relationships. Gaming can be a great way to bond with friends and family members. And because it requires teamwork, it can help people learn to trust and rely on each other.