Gaming is an important thing which can affect mental health in both positive and negative ways. This blog will talk through the positives and negatives of gaming. Some key ways to unplug and some organisations which offer support.
Negatives of Gaming
Physical signs that you spend too much time gaming could be injuries leading to short- or long-term conditions such as Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. Gaming can also lead to headaches and migraines. Hygiene can also become neglected because of excessive gaming. There are also emotional signs which can indicate that someone is spending too much time online. For example, someone downplaying the time they spent gaming, unable to set time limits and come away from being online and having a fixation on gaming.
Positive sides of Gaming
There are many positive effects of gaming! Studies have proven that gaming helps to improve cognitive ability through processing speed, reasoning, and mathematical intelligence. Furthermore, these skills have positive impacts on factors such as problem solving and logic. Gaming can also help social skills in building networks and friendships due to being able to connect over similarities. Gaming can also help with escapism and creativity which can help with enjoying the games played and have positive psychological outcomes.
Ways to Unplug
It is important to unplug from gaming too, so here is some top tips to help you on plug.
1. Take a walk or have a break- This could be between games or after an amount of time playing switch the console off and get some fresh air.
2. Get the right amount of sleep- It is important to get our eight hours a day of sleep and not spend all night up playing games and this can affect both physical and mental health.
3. Before going online ask yourself if there is something you can do in real life- For example- if you are about to go and play FIFA online could you go to the park to play football with your friends.
4. Plan for the day- Gaming is a fun activity but make sure to have a plan for your day and maybe only dedicate a certain amount of time to gaming or make sure your day includes socialising and exercise.
5. Eat a balanced diet- It is important that when gaming you still eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. It is very easy to just snack or have an energy drink when gaming, but it is important to have a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
6. Keep not of how you take to a loss- If you become extremely upset or frustrated about a loss in a game it is important to switch off the console.
7. Make a do list- Sometimes people game due to stress or because of procrastination. It is important to sometimes write a to do list to allow all things stressing you to be written down. This way things to be done can be split across days or hours which should hopefully still allow time for gaming but allow you to game positive.
8. Gaming is a brilliant way to connect with Friends and family, however it is important to also meet up with friends and family in real life as this can positively impact both social and physical wellbeing.
Charities to support gaming-
If you need to reach out to anyone for support around gaming here are some useful organisations.
Young Minds- Young Mind is a charity which supports young people and parents. They have a page on Gaming and Mental Health
YGAM- Young Gamers and Gamblers Association is a social platform for safeguarding young people with the vision of information and education. They have strategies and communications to help support people who game and gamble through the use of their education centre.
Bernardo’s- Their campaign for Mental Health Week for 2020 was around gaming and positive mental health and there is a blog on their website around this campaign and their findings.