Video gaming has received a lot of bad press over the years with it being blamed for violence and gun crime amongst other things. Whilst it is an easy target I want to talk about how gaming’s mental health effects are positive in many more ways than they are negative.
Despite Negative Press, Gaming’s Mental Health Effects Are Positive
Gaming and My Journey
In 2014, after years of misdiagnosed depression I was diagnosed as having bi polar disorder. Basically I have severe mood swings – from deep depression, where just getting out of bed is impossible, to extreme highs where I think I can be Super Mario and take on anything! One hobby that makes a positive difference to me is video gaming. Nintendo has been a huge part of my life and now in 2021 I have also added an Xbox Series S and Game Pass subscription to my gaming world and as I approach 43 years of age I am gaming more than ever.
Nintendo a Lot for My Mental Health
My love of Nintendo is one that has really helped me to remain stable. Just booting up my Nintendo Switch, I get a feeling of happiness and contentment as I see the Nintendo logo once more. Familiarity is important to human beings. It is about a connection. It helps us to feel safe when we recognise something that we have grown to trust.
Activity Stimulates Good Mental Health
Keeping my mind active is important to my wellbeing. Games such as Brain Training keep my mind focused with memory games being a positive force in keeping cognitive skills strong. Bi Polar medication can have an impact on memory making this a factor that is far too often overlooked.
Super Mario Odyssey delights and excites and makes my brain release serotonin that is important for a healthy mind. The colours, the music, the ease of play are all conducive to positive mental health. Then there are fitness games such as Wii Fit and more recently Ring Fit Adventure, where you can game and keep fit at the same time! Exercise is vital for physical and mental wellbeing and added to a hobby such as video gaming you can only benefit from the best of all Worlds.
No Need to Feel Doomed
FPS games such as Doom Eternal help me because I can let off steam. I don’t play Doom and suddenly think I must go out shooting things. It is a safe way to release tension and frustration with entering a world of non reality being about escapism. I do not see the connection between that escapism and wanting to make it a reality and the day I start wanting to be a plumber and jump on squirrels in the park is the day my gaming has gone too far and I stop playing Super Mario Bros!
Crafting a Healthy Mind
Yoshi and his crafted worlds are enough to make the deepest depression lift. The bright colours, the world, the gameplay are glorious. As with Mario, there is a beauty that refreshes the mind.
From the moment I started gaming I can only say that it has been good for my mental health and I remain and always will remain grateful for that. I absolutely recommend gaming as an important tool for mental health wellbeing and recovery.
Changing the Narrative – Gaming’s Mental Health Effects are Positive
Hobbies are joyous activities that should help us to enjoy our leisure time yet video gaming still gets a raw deal at times.
That narrative should change and it should change because it can focus minds, take us away from stress and anxiety and take us to a happy place. There are precautions to be taken with all things in life and of course that caution is wise but the time has come to stop the scaremongering over gaming and accentuate the positives.