Blog: I play video games to boost my wellbeing

Video games often get a bad reputation for promoting violence or being a time waste activity in the press.

I admit some games are violent, but there is an argument for escapism too. I am certainly not going to debate video game violence, I’m not the expert or have all the facts there. I do however personally find video games help me to boost my wellbeing. I significantly story based video game or one that requires strategic thinking can help take my full focus when I am sad, stressed or needing to unwind. At times video games have been all I have managed to recover from a bad time or event.

At the height of my depression in 2018, I struggled to even talk to people at times. I discovered Singstar in playstation. I was struggling to get my emotions out, so I found singing (badly) on SingStar one of the few times I was able to cope. I would sing until my voice went croaky. Not only did this boost my wellbeing, it became a coping mechanism for a few weeks.

Civilization is a series of games surrounding countries at war – is a strategic and requires a lot of attention. Where Singstar helped me to channel my emotions, Civilization helped me switch off from stress, anxiety and to distract me.

Video gaming is something that brings me joy, something that helps me cope. In the same way I hear people say they lose themselves in a good book, I lose myself in a video game. I read too, but this is something that helps me.

I have always been a fan of science fiction since being a young child. One of my favourite games is a series called Mass Effect, this is an epic Sci-Fi story, with great writing and lots to explore. There is also lots of thinking required to unpick the story through choices. I’ve always found being able to visit this universe very relaxing. When I have struggled it has helped to provide a calming and relaxing state to me.

2018 and 2019 were very difficult years for me. Gaming has really helped me survive this. Sure, for many 2020 has been a tough year, but for me personally I’ve been recovering from truama for two years. I’ve finally started to come back to myself. Video gaming has been one part of myself that I never lost.

There is a major new study here in the UK that gives evidence that Video games really do boost our wellbeing. This is something I personally can vouch for.

The study looked at two games:

  • Plants vs Zombies – a non graphically violent puzzle game, needing strategy and focus to defeat a zombie army. I’ve used this one to engage my brain
  • Animal Crossing – a game where you create and craft on an island, with optional social elements. There is no violence of any type. Relaxing escapism.

Playing these two specific games can boost wellbeing, including my own.

So when you need to escape, switch off or have a stop mechanism, you could consider a video game.

Here is a little more on the study:

“With the UK in a second national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Christmas on the horizon, many will stay indoors to play and socially connect through video games. New research from Oxford University has delivered a surprising finding; time spent playing games is positively associated with wellbeing.”

Check out more at the Oxford Internet Institute:

Have a great week.

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