When it comes to unlocking the benefits of playing computer games, there are two key qualifiers – less is more and change is good for your brain. Games are part of building a brain-healthy lifestyle, but as with bringing on anything in life – moderation is the best approach. Just 10 – 15 minutes a day can help provide a number of key benefits.
Digital games reduce stress and depression.
A 2009 Annual Review of Telemedicine study found that gamers who suffered from mental health issues such as stress and depression were able to vent their aggression and frustration by playing video games — and showed a significant improvement. The study concluded that games gave certain “Type A” personalities time to relax in “a state of relative mindlessness” that allowed them to avoid reaching “a certain level of stressful arousal” as they tried to relax.
Computer games improve your decision-making skills.
Most games require split-second decisions that can mean the difference between virtual life and virtual death. Neuroscientists at the University of Rochester found these games give players’ brains plenty of practice for making decisions in the real world. Researchers note that action-oriented games act as a simulator for the decision-making process by giving players several chances to infer information from their surroundings and forcing them to react quickly and accurately.
Video games may boost happiness levels as you age.
North Carolina State University researchers looked closely at the aging population to see if there was a link between playing video games and mental well-being — i.e. “happiness.” They discovered that seniors who said they played video games — even occasionally — reported “higher levels of well-being and overall happiness,” according to Rick Nauert at PsychCentral. “Those who did not play video games reported more negative emotions” and were more likely to be depressed.