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For as long as the video game industry has been around, there have been numerous studies and articles done on how video games can “rot” your brain and turn you into a zombie of sorts. Obviously, too much of a good thing is bad for anybody, which is something these studies often chose to ignore. Instead of focusing on the negative effects of video games, let’s focus on the positive effects that games can have as long as they are played in moderation. Here are three ways video games can actually be good for your brain!

1. MEMORY

mario brothers

Many people are already aware that moderate gaming has been shown to improve your hand-eye coordination (which I can attest to, as a rhythm game player!) Did you know that games can improve your memory as well? A study done by the University of California found that after students played Super Mario 3D World for about 30 minutes a day for a few weeks, their memory performance increased by about 12 percent. [1] It is important to note, though, that while 3D games have this benefit, it is not yet known if 2D games have any effect on memory.

2. SOCIAL SKILLS

Another way video games can help your brain is through virtual social interactions. In many multiplayer games, players are given the option to use a microphone to communicate with their team. While the anonymity of the internet can lead to some rude interactions, I can say with certainty that those aren’t the only type of interactions that happen. Personally, I have made many great acquaintances through games whom I would have never gotten to meet anywhere else. In fact, I would go as far as to say that making friends online has helped me learn how to better make friends in person.

3. MENTAL HEALTH

young man smiling with gaming device

Which leads me to the last point, which is that video games can help with anxiety. Not just generalized anxiety, either, but social anxiety, PTSD, depression-related anxiety, and more. [2] As long as you are playing the right kinds of games for you, and you are playing at a moderate level (that is, not so much that you are neglecting your other duties and self-care), games are a great tool for relaxation and meditative thoughts. It’s similar to any other good hobby — it can help us find peace and joy in our everyday lives. For some, it offers a type of escapism from pain and worry. Have you ever been to a nursing home or elderly care facility that gives their clients access to games? The effect it has on their overall morale is incredible. This applies to hospitals, too: the organization Child’s Play has their own list of therapeutic video games which help children, mainly for those in the hospital, and it organizes them by symptoms, from general pain to cognitive impairment. [3]

It is clear from the research that video games can in fact have a positive effect on your brain. Of course, as I have stressed throughout this post, limiting yourself is key. If you’d like to test it out yourself, pick up a controller or a mouse and keyboard and see where it takes you. With moderation and good choices, I know it will be somewhere wonderful!

Sources:
[1] – “Playing 3-D Video Games Can Boost Memory Formation, UCI Study Finds.” UCI News, 8 Dec. 2015, https://news.uci.edu/2015/12/08/playing-3-d-video-games-can-boost-memory-formation-uci-study-finds/
[2] – “How Video Games Can Help Anxiety.” Platinum Paragon, 23 Aug. 2018, http://platinumparagon.info/gaming-helps-anxiety/
[3] – “Therapeutic Video Game Guide.” Child’s Play, 2 Nov. 2017, http://www.childsplaycharity.org/news/post/therapeutic-video-game-guide

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Please note that, while we publish accurate information with professional input, no information in this blog is intended as a replacement for medical advice from licensed providers. To receive such advice please contact MindPath Care Centers at mindpathcare.com or call us at 877-876-3783, and we will connect you with a professional who can further assist you.

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