6 Super Surprising Health Benefits of Playing Video Games

Playing video games is an interactive activity that’s a lot more fun than reading books or watching television and movies.

Gaming requires full mental attention. When you engage your mind completely, it boosts your brainpower and mental well-being.

But why is playing games good for you? Can it make you smarter, improve your memory, or relieve stress? It seems so.

New studies are emerging, and the results are stunning. Read on as we’ve compiled six surprising benefits of playing video games.

Gaming Relieves Stress

Gaming gives your mind something to do and allows you to escape real-world problems. Unlike movies and books, the interactive component of gaming also helps reduce stress.

One study found that participants playing Bejeweled experienced a mood elevation and reduced heart rate. Those who did not play the video games or who surfed the Internet instead did not experience these benefits.

Playing Video Games Reduces Pain

Scientists suggest that our brains operate like spotlights, focusing on one thing at a time. While multitasking exists, the brain is unable to think about two things at precisely the same moment.

Video games require complete focus and may even help relieve physical pain.

To illustrate this, the University of Washington Harborview Burn Center conducted a study in which burn victims played the game Snow World. The virtual reality game takes you on a journey through 3-D ice caves, complete with falling snow and happy snowmen.

Participants played the game even while receiving painful treatments.

The results?

They were able to ignore their pain an astounding 92 percent of the time. Gaming proved to be an incredible relief to patients who might otherwise have nothing else to do but focus on their own suffering.

Games Improve Coordination

While it has been known for years that gaming improves hand-eye coordination, the extent to which this skill can be used is just now being fully recognized.

In fact, video games are now being used to train surgeons who will need to develop precise motor skills under pressure and make quick decisions.

You don’t have to be a surgeon to enjoy these benefits. Virtual pinball games are a fun way to improve your coordination.

Gaming Boosts Your Memory

Video games may help improve your memory too. A recent study found that participants playing 3-D games experienced memory improvement as high as 12 percent.

Another study by Oxford University discovered that PTSD patients who played Tetris experienced fewer symptoms of PTSD and half as many flashbacks as those who did not play the game.

Game Play Reduces Anxiety

The brain spotlight theory also works with regard to reducing anxiety. Children playing Minecraft are too busy accomplishing their goals to worry about other things.

That’s the theory proved by researchers at New Jersey Medical School; they’ve found that kids who played handheld video games just before surgery felt significantly less anxiety.

Gaming Improves Decision Making Skills

Most video games involve a high level of decision-making skills. Even simple games like Tetris require you to plan ahead and determine where you will place future blocks.

First person shooters like Call of Duty are more than just point and shoot games. To survive, you must think critically and strategically.

Minecraft is a popular game in which users build a virtual empire, block by block. To overcome obstacles, they need to make the right decisions at the right time.

Decision-making skills are coveted by employers, and it seems video games just might help us become the best versions our ourselves.

Reap the Benefits of Playing Video Games

Video games should not be considered simply a waste of time. As we’ve seen, the benefits of playing video games are too strong to ignore.

Playing games is good for your critical thinking skills and your mood as well as for relieving stress and anxiety. Your well-being is improved when you engage our mind completely. Not to mention, video games are just plain fun.

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