Not just yoga, meditation or jogging — online gaming is good for your mental health too

Practitioners either encourage patients to play alone or join them on multiplayer online gaming platforms, such as Roblox or Minecraft.

Nearly half of US adults reported higher stress levels in April 2020 than in the previous month, as the spread of COVID-19 accelerated.

While online gaming has emerged as a therapy during the pandemic, it’s not a new idea. Organizations such as the non-profit Geek Therapy have advocated the use of video games in clinical, educational, and community practice for more than a decade.

Referred to as ‘flow’ by psychologists, feeling completely immersed in a game can help players mask the feelings, problems, and fears they encounter in real life.

Studies show that playing video games can help you relax, focus better, and improve alertness. When players complete simple in-game tasks or levels, the mood-boosting happiness hormone dopamine is released, while interacting with others online can boost confidence and help develop social skills.

Play online as an additional tool

This does not mean that patients have unlimited screen time or play as a distraction.

Online gaming sessions should have specific treatment goals, such as refining social skills or building distress tolerance, according to clinical psychologist and author Amy Daramos.

While online gaming is not a substitute for traditional methods of mental health treatment, it is an additional tool that therapists can use to address the growing mental health challenge caused by the pandemic.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Mental Health Future Report helps address the current situation by promoting initiatives between the public and private sectors, which increase treatment options for patients and transform how mental health treatment is delivered to better prepare for the future.

This article was first published in World Economic Forum. Read the original article here.

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