Why playing games support human health
Several studies have shown the mental benefits of playing games for adults, but surprisingly, most people quit playing as they grow older. It’s a common phenomenon to see children playing with toys and fiddling with video game controllers, while this activity improves their brain development, it shouldn’t be limited to just children.
Federica Pallavicini, a psychologist at the University of Milano-Bocca, Italy, is studying the applications of video games and virtual reality on mental health and psychological wellbeing. She told the BBC that she began searching for ways to help her father with his recovery after he was treated for brain cancer, leading her to discover the cognitive health benefits of playing video games.
Many adults still view online gaming as an activity for children but those who indulge in it have found it as a form of therapy, demonstrating more playful personality traits. These traits are strongly linked to becoming more spontaneous, creative, and motivated. Additionally, there are studies to show the relationship between having playful characteristics and lower blood pressure.
While less playful adults often get bored when they are not busy and struggle to relax during their leisure time, their more playful counterparts are usually more inclined to try out a wide variety of new activities. It could be by playing Pyramid on your commute to work or sharing jokes you’re your family, friends or colleagues, being playful has a lot of health benefits that often go unnoticed.
It is necessary to learn how to play games even as adults, says René Proyer, professor of psychology at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. Just like exercising and meditating, playing games and adopting a more playful personality should equally be viewed as essential habits to be developed and harnessed for better mental health.
It’s okay to have fun as an adult despite the targets, pressure and responsibilities life may throw at you. Losing sight of fun moments with family and friends and little opportunities to enjoy life is easy, but these moments are important in ensuring your mental and psychological health is always kept in check.