We all love playing. No matter if we’re children or adults, boys or girls, tall or short, if there’s one thing every human being enjoys, it’s the act of playing. However, playing games is much more than just simple entertainment – the act provides major benefits when it comes to our mental health.
As a matter of fact, there are some benefits that are present no matter what kind of games you’re playing. Sports, video games, card games, any kind of tabletop games – everything goes. So, here’s a short overview of the three ways games are beneficial for mental health.
They make you happy
It’s as simple as that. Games make us happy. Provided that we’re playing something we genuinely like, of course. This is all thanks to the hormone called endorphins, which is connected to us feeling pleasure. While we’re playing a game, these chemicals are released, and the reaction that happens in our bodies is quite similar to eating a delicious cake. Pure happiness.
This can even temporarily diminish pain, but generally speaking, endorphins help us feel better about ourselves. This also helps reduce stress levels, lower anxiety, and improve our overall mood.
Think about your favourite game. Wouldn’t it be great if you started playing it right now? Well, just go ahead and see how you feel after that. The difference will be material.
They improve your relationships
Most games are designed to be played with someone else. No matter if you’re sitting at your table with your family, or if you’re playing video games online with your friend who’s halfway across the world, your relationships will benefit as a result of that. Sharing happy moments with others is crucial in that process.
Furthermore, play is vital for small children to develop social skills and to learn teamwork. They will learn how cooperating with others can help them achieve a goal and why rules are important, but through play, they also learn body language and improve their communication skills. As adults, we can use playfulness to approach people we don’t know more easily and generally make friends much more easily.
Play boosts productivity
More and more companies these days are enticing their employers to take a break once in a while and just relax a bit. These places will usually have rooms where people can gather when they need a break and just hang out, or maybe play a game of Foosball or two. Even video games or playing solitaire can boost productivity
Imagine working for hours and hitting a roadblock. Wouldn’t it be great to vent a bit with your colleagues and get your mind off your work completely? Playing computer games like solitaire in the office can in fact be an outlet to destress. You can be sure that you’d come back to your problem completely reinvigorated and that your chances for finding a solution would be much higher.
Playing games at your workplace helps you see things from a new perspective, refreshes your body and mind, and helps you be more creative and innovative. All of this results in happier workers who are more efficient and productive.
Peter Wallace did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has a particular interest in mental health and well-being.