Aside from exercise, yoga, and meditation, mental health professionals are advising video games as treatment for patients.
It may come as a surprise to many, but online games can be good for your mental health.
Stressed people who turn to yoga, meditation and exercise now also have the opportunity to play and are advised by mental health professionals themselves.
The new treatment came in the wake of, of course, the pandemic, as lockdowns and social isolation caused a spike in mental health issues.
An article from the World Economic Forum pointed out that nearly half of American adults reported higher levels of stress in April 2020 compared to the previous month, as COVID made headlines around the world.
Since then, across the world, there has been a growing demand for professional help to combat pandemic-induced mental health issues.
According to studies, playing video games can help you relax, focus better and improve mindfulness. When players complete simple tasks or levels in a game, the happy hormone called dopamine is released and can build confidence and help develop social skills.
While some video games have been criticized for their addictive nature, gaming can provide an immersive retreat from the stresses and strains of the real world, research shows.
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Blending traditional talk therapy with play can help encourage mentally ill patients to open up and engage more fully in their treatment. Practitioners encourage patients to play alone or join them on multiplayer online gaming platforms, such as Roblox or Minecraft, the article points out.
Called “flow” by psychologists, the feeling of being fully immersed in a game can help players block out the feelings, issues, and worries they experience in real life.
However, online gaming as therapy is not a new idea and certainly does not replace traditional mental health treatment methods. But it’s an additional tool that therapists can use to queue up patients outside of clinics.
Organizations such as the nonprofit Geek Therapy have been advocating the use of video games in therapeutic, educational and community practice for more than a decade, according to the WEF article.