Gaming and Mental Health: The Positive Effects of Video Games


The discussion regarding video games has changed over time. It used to concentrate on the bad influence of gaming but now people are more aware about how it can be good for one’s sanity. Even though too much playing can bring about some problems, playing video games in moderation and with attention has been proven beneficial to the mind.

Cognitive Benefits

Video games have been proven to be useful in boosting the thinking capacity. The executive functions of a player can be enhanced through engaging games that require strategy, solve problems and multitask. Taking an example, quick decisions and hand-eye coordination are some of the requirements in action games that may translate to better real-world abilities. Numerous studies have indicated that people who play video games perform better than those who do not in tests measuring: attention, spatial cognition, and reaction speed.


Puzzle games, such as Tetris or Portal, are particularly effective at enhancing cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills. Another excellent example is the game high low, which requires players to guess whether the next card drawn will be higher or lower than the current card. These games encourage quick thinking, probability assessment, and decision-making, all of which are beneficial cognitive exercises. 

Emotional Resilience

Moreover, emotional strength can be developed through video games. Most games have stories that make players feel happy, sad, excited or angry. Dealing with such feelings under certain conditions helps in creating ways of handling various situations as well as learning how to keep emotions under control and at bay. By way of illustration, conquering difficult stages or defeating bosses within a game may give one a feeling of pride and enhance self-worth.


Moreover, games with rich storylines, like The Last of Us or Life is Strange, can offer players a deep sense of empathy and understanding by immersing them in the lives and struggles of the characters. This emotional engagement can be therapeutic, helping players process their own emotions and experiences.

Social Connections

Despite what people think, most video games promote sociability. Communication, cooperation, and collaboration are obligatory in some games like Fortnite, World of Warcraft, or Among Us. Such social exchanges may reduce social isolation and loneliness by promoting unity and a feeling or environment of being part of something bigger than oneself. On the other hand, those people who face difficulties when trying to communicate with others in the real world may find a great place for making friends – online gaming communities.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, video games became a crucial means of maintaining social connections while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. Platforms like Discord and Twitch further enhance the social aspect of gaming, allowing players to chat and share experiences in real-time.

Stress Relief and Relaxation

Playing video games is a great way to relax and unwind. The game provides an outlet for escaping the troubles of real life by allowing gamers the chance to be adventurous, have fun and accomplish tasks in a secure environment. Such an escape may provide some relief for people who are sad or feel hopeless as it takes their problems away for a short time.


The therapeutic nature of some games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which offer a peaceful environment that does not promote rivalry, has received positive feedback. Engaging in repetitive activities while having a feeling that one is in charge helps develop meditation that is essential in allaying off stress and enhancing calmness.

Therapeutic Applications

Clinical settings are starting to see the value of video games as therapeutic tools. Certain video games are created for therapy, and they can be useful in helping people control their psychiatric disorders. For example, there is a game called SPARX that was made to cure depression among teenagers by employing some of the techniques found in cognitive-behavioral therapy.


Virtual reality (VR) games are also being explored for their therapeutic potential. VR environments can provide immersive exposure therapy for individuals with phobias or PTSD, allowing them to confront and manage their fears in a controlled and safe manner.

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