Recent surveys have shown that around 50% of the entire US population plays games of some kind. At a global level, the proportion is slightly lower, but it still equates to around 3 billion people enjoying games around the world. In this post, you will learn how you can benefit from playing games.
It’s not just young people either. A more recent study by AppLovin found that around 80% of people over 55 play games at least occasionally. This is partly due to the popularity of casual games on smartphones, which have made gaming more accessible to a wider audience.
Despite the common misconception, playing games is not just a way to have fun. They can offer many benefits to our lives, improving our wellbeing, our mental abilities, and social lives.
Here are the tips on how you can get benefit from playing games.
Life can be pretty stressful, no matter your circumstances. There are many things that can pile on the pressure in the modern world, including work deadlines, financial woes, or moving house. Thankfully, benefit from playing games can help you to relieve and manage stress.
A survey conducted among Americans found that more than 60% of gamers regularly play their favorite titles to help them relax. In support of this, researchers at McGill University found that video games can reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) production.
To perform well in any game, you need to be fully focused. This means that your brain is occupied, distracting you from all the other things going on that can be making you more stressed. They are a way to switch off, and that’s not always a bad thing.
More Social Interaction
Social interaction is important to our general well being. While we all like to have some alone time every now and then, social interaction has been proven to boost our levels of oxytocin and serotonin, which are necessary for a fulfilled life.
Playing games provides several opportunities for social interaction, regardless of whether you’re playing traditional card and board games, or modern video games. For example, hosting a poker night with your mates gives you an opportunity to get together, chat, and have fun. The face-to-face element isn’t always required though. You could also take part in competitions and events online and still get the opportunity to interact with people.
Most online games now include functionality that allows you to chat with your teammates and opponents and even add them to your friend list so you can join them in future gaming sessions.
Promotes Creativity and Improves Cognitive Abilities
Games are more than just a hobby or a pastime. Almost all of them have a requirement for problem-solving, strategy, and/or creativity. For example, when playing poker or chess, you need to think ahead to what your opponent is planning and what their next move will be.
Taking part in fast-paced competitions such as fast chess and Zoom Poker can also train your brain to make decisions more quickly without compromising on quality. Researchers at the University of Rochester found that people who played games with a high tempo could think and decide 25% faster.
Strategic thinking is useful in more than just these games. It’s helpful in many real-world scenarios too. For example, you’ll need to think strategically if you’re in a management position at work, or if you run your own business. The ability to think several steps ahead will help you to predict what your competitors and customers will want and do and then plan your business activities accordingly.
Even if you don’t need to be strategic at work, thinking ahead and quickly is useful when driving. According to the UK’s Institute of Advanced Motoring, drivers who use “defensive” (strategic) techniques while behind the wheel are significantly less likely to be involved in a road traffic collision.
Similarly, when playing games like Minecraft, you need to be creative to build large and imaginative structures. This creativity can be applied to your work, or you can use it in personal projects such as decorating your home or creating homemade gifts for friends.
Puzzle games like sudoku require you to problem-solve, another important skill that has limitless applications in the real world. It can even be applied to simple things like moving furniture into your new home. You may need to use problem-solving skills to find a way to move large items through narrow doorways or tight corridors.
Gaming could be one way to unlock these life skills, and to keep cognition sharp.