AUTHOR: JAKE SCHOFIELD

Social Media Coordinator

WELLBEING

Why gaming is now good for your mental wellbeing

Gaming has been wrongly chastised in the past: isolating, corruptible - an attribute to mental health issues. Now, the stigma is lifting, and we're very happy to share with you our findings as to why gaming is, in fact, great for your mental wellbeing.

debunking the outdated stigma

Video games have been chastised in the past for supposedly ‘corrupting young minds’, however such claims have long been debunked and new research is bringing to light the overwhelming wellbeing benefits which video games offer.

 

Last year Oxford University discovered that gaming benefitted users’ mental health and heavily criticised the standard of evidence which preceded it; studies that put forth video game addiction and digital harm. 

 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) funded many of such studies. Ironically, since the pandemic WHO have begun to recognise the merit in video games, launching their #PlayApartTogether campaign in March 2020.

A social lifeline

During the COVID-19 outbreak, many have been yearning for social aspects of life and have struggled to maintain their mental wellbeing as a consequence. However, video gaming has actively boosted wellbeing, emerging as a lifeline for many, as it offers connection to gamers who would otherwise be starved of social interaction.

 

The creativity people showed during the pandemic to connect with each other deserves its own applause. Some consistently turned to gaming to emulate real-life events. For example, many have held virtual birthday parties, hosted music festivals on Minecraft and have even been getting married on Animal Crossing.

A creative spark

It is not solely the social offerings which benefit users’ mental health, as the immersion which many titles offer boosts general wellbeing, as does the creativity which the games provoke.

Professor Shibilski found that video gaming fosters creativity by encouraging lateral thinking when tackling puzzles in novel ways, on top of trying on different personas by inhabiting various stories, narratives and characters. Also, the relaxation, offered by any game which a user enjoys, can give them an opportunity to think about pre-existing problems which they wouldn’t otherwise consider.

“Animal Crossing was a massive help to my mental health. I play it for about half an hour everyday because it relaxes me, and you don’t have to do a huge amount to get positive reinforcement. Also, the game cheers me up because it encourages a huge amount of creativity, plus the nostalgia and the aesthetic that it has just calms me down.” - Ananthi Parekh, Student

A safe place for self expression

Gaming can also contribute to a healthy mental state due to the self-expression of playing video games. Academics have often compared this process to the proteus effect, in which people in virtual environments begin to adopt characteristics from their virtual representations.

 

Depression is more likely when somebody is unable to openly express their identity, so gaming offers a lifeline to those who are uncomfortable expressing themselves openly and, in some cases, allows LGBTQ+ gamers to discover their identity.

 

Speaking to The Washington Post, “Black Desert” player Steven Arnold stated that they cycled through various different avatar outfits and appearances in order to reaffirm their own gender identity: “Picking makeup or a crazy hair colour for my avatar was a way for me to affirm my own gender… It gave me an outlet where I really felt like I was a powerful person and the main character of my story.”

purposeful marketing

Our passion is to embolden the authentic and meaningful connections that people share with and around gaming.

Games provide the perfect platform for people to form genuine relationships around a shared passion: whether that be ‘dropping in’ with old friends; forming alliances with new players; or connecting with streamers and message board communities.

Everything we do is built around this principle that drives us to form meaningful relationships between brands, influencers, and audiences.