A lot of negative stigmas follow the lifestyle of a gamer, but these often come from those unfamiliar with gaming. While there are definite drawbacks to being a gamer, such is the case with any other hobby. There are many benefits as well. These include, but are not limited to, brain stimulation, problem solving, creative thinking, connection with other gamers, and stress relief. Being a gamer can both positively and negatively affect your mental health and there are specific ways to ward off the negative effects. Resources like MyTherapist can assist you if you feel like gaming is having a more negative than positive effect on you. You can also try the tips and tricks below which may help you control your mental state more easily and healthily.
Limit Your Time Playing
Taking frequent breaks while gaming is essential. Even better is if you do something physically active on those breaks. It’s unhealthy to sit in the same exact position for hours on end, so try to get up and move every 30 minutes or so. You can get stiff wrists and strained eyes as well, so do your body and favor and get outside, or at least outside of your room. The game will still be waiting for you right where you left it once you return. You may also consider taking extended breaks from gaming if you feel like your mental health is declining. Even a few days or a week away from the console can give you the mental reset you desperately need. It’s hard to pull away from something that can be so addicting, but if it’ll help you it’s always worth a shot.
Interact with Other Players
Being a gamer means you get the chance to meet other gamers. You might meet them online or connect with your real-life friends over a game. Be careful not to be too trusting when meeting someone online, and never meet up with them alone in real life. In general, it’s best if you have friends that you already personally know and trust that you can game with. You can even invite them over and play right alongside them. Social interaction and genuine connection with other humans are vital to your well-being and mental health, so do your best to make good friends. One best friend who knows you well will always be better than dozens of acquaintances who are closer to strangers.
Exercise and Eat Right
Besides taking periodic breaks to move around, you should also make sure you’re eating healthily. Sitting in front of a screen for an extended amount of time can lead to mindless snacking and overeating. Try not to eat while gaming. If you must, only allow yourself to bring in healthy snacks like carrots, kettle corn, or almonds. Snacks like bags of chips will only lead to overindulgence and you probably won’t even notice. Beyond taking breaks during gaming, make the time to get regular exercise, like a 30-minute jog or walk around your neighborhood. The more you move the better off your mind will be.
While there are many drawbacks of gaming, there are also many advantages. It’s up to you to make sure gaming is a healthy hobby for you. You might have friends who can play video games all day every day and feel just fine, but the same might not be true for you, and that’s okay. Everyone is different, so don’t forget that. Be aware of the immense impact gaming can have on your mental health and monitor yourself closely. While poor mental health isn’t always correlated with playing too many video games, it could be a factor. The only way to know for sure is by speaking with a therapist or other mental health professional. It’s great to have hobbies, just make sure they’re not affecting your mental health negatively. Hobbies should be fun and put your mind at ease, not make life more difficult than it already can be.