Can Online Games Really Improve Your Mental Health?

Can Online Games Really Improve Your Mental Health?

Mental health has been a trending topic recently. While clearly it is something that should always be a top priority, with all the stress, anxiety, up

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Mental health has been a trending topic recently. While clearly it is something that should always be a top priority, with all the stress, anxiety, upheaval, isolation, and uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, mental health has become even more of an issue. Finding ways to put your own mental health first can be challenging in the best of times, never mind during a pandemic. And while there are plenty of things you can do that address your mental health, it’s online gaming that you may be missing out on.

That’s right, online gaming is now starting to get some attention for helping people to keep their mental health balanced and in check. But how exactly can it help, and is it really that effective? Let’s break it down and take a closer look at how online gaming can positively affect your mental health overall.

It Allows People to Socialise

One of the things that people have suffered from greatly this year is the isolation that lockdowns have caused. Even if a lockdown isn’t happening, there have been strict public health guidelines to keep to a small circle of contacts at all time, so as not to risk spreading or catching the virus. While this has certainly been important from a virus transmission standpoint, it has been awful for peoples’ mental health. For many it has led to a feeling of isolation, loneliness, and even depression.

As humans, socialisation plays an important role. It’s a necessary part of your makeup. Even if you’re not the type that gets together with huge groups of family and friends, you probably still have your core group. Not being able to see them at all, or at least in limited visits and without that close contact, can be draining both mentally and physically. It’s as though your support system is out of reach during this once-in-a-lifetime extremely stressful live event.

This is where video games can fill a really important role, as it can provide you with socialisation opportunities, which is more important now than ever before. Playing online games allows you to connect with friends and family regardless of where they live, plus you’ll be meeting more contacts. Whether it’s all about the competition, or you like more of the collaborative style of games, either way you are socialising and filling that need. Then there’s the fact that when you’re playing online you can use the chat features either by typing or voice chats.

Playing an hour or two with friends, whether they are from your real life or you’ve met them through gaming, can be just as impactful as getting together in person.

Keep Your Cognitive Skills Sharp

People like to think about cognitive skills as an important thing for kids to learn, but did you know they need to be kept sharp right through your adult and into your senior years? There are lots of ways you can do this, but video games are incredibly effective.

In order to play a game effectively, and have success at it, you’re going to need to think, focus, and strategize. Even the most non-competitive of games still requires you to think through your moves, often in advance. What this means is that you’re working on your problem-solving skills the entire time. Your mind is constantly thinking about the task at-hand, which does a lot in terms of keeping it sharp.

And it’s not just your problem-solving skills; it also requires you to use your memory. You need to remember past experiences in the game that have taught you lessons on what to do, and what not to do. You also need to remember things like special moves you can make, specific locations to visit or find, the list goes on and on.

If you happen to be playing casino style-games online, then you’re also going to need to remember the rules of the various card games, and even the slot games.

Take for example Online Casinos, which reviews all the latest slot websites. It is constantly adding new slots to the library for you to check out, which means you’re going to be working on those cognitive skills on a regular basis trying to remember the special symbols for each slot game, what the bonuses are, the special features, and so forth. Although it’s not your traditional competitive style game, you will be in competition and you will be using your cognitive skills.

Go Ahead and Work on Your Attention Span

Another area that online gaming can help improve is your attention span. A poor attention span is something many people suffer from. It can be hard to stay focused on one task for any length of time, especially if you have a lot of stress or worry on your mind. Video games require you to be focused completely on the game and nothing else. If you look away, if you lose that focus, there’s a good chance you won’t last long in the game.

It will also require you to start being more mindful and aware of your surroundings – in the game. You can’t take anything for granted, as you’ll need to examine every little thing on the screen. This needs to be done in an effective manner of course, but also in a fast manner. You don’t often have time to just stand there and take it all in. This means you’re improving how you assess information – doing so much faster than you probably would day to day. Your brain learns to distinguish between what is important and what isn’t.

It’s That Escape from Reality People Can Crave

Then there is the fact that online games can act as that temporary escape from reality that everyone craves now and then. Because you are so focused on the game, all that other stress can fall to the wayside, giving you temporary relief that is so important.

Give Online Gaming a Try

So, if you feel like your mental health has taken a hit this year, first off, know that you’re not alone, and second of all, it may be worth giving online gaming a try to see what kind of positive effects it can have.