OK, this one hurts to write. I have pretty strong opinions of video games in all their forms. However, in these articles, I’m going to share things I find interesting, regardless of whether or not they confirm my own personal opinions.
In a recent study done by scientists in London, and published in JMIR Mental Health, “Participants were given a 15 minute math test and then asked to either play a shape-fitting game or use a mindfulness app. Those in a control group were given a fidget-spinner toy.”
The group that played the video game reported feeling more energized and less tired. The group that used the meditation app and the fidget spinner group reported the exact opposite and felt even more mentally exhausted.
The study then had a group play the shape-fitting game everyday when they got home from work for 5 days. The other group was asked to participate in a mindfulness/ meditation app everyday, for 5 days after getting home from work. The findings were that the shape-fitting group reported feeling more relaxed at the end of the week than the group that used the meditation app.
The co-author of the study, Professor Anna Cox, said, “Far from feeling guilty about being absorbed by their phone, people who play such games after a stressful day at work should know they are likely to be gaining a real benefit.”
Dr Emily Collins, the lead author of the study, said, “To protect our long-term health and well-being, we need to be able to unwind and recuperate after work. Our study suggests playing digital games can be an effective way to do this.”
The authors of the study feel that the reason for these findings were that the digital games seemed to do four things that helped the participants.
1) They tend to be relaxing
2) They provide opportunities for mastering a new skill
3) They are highly immersive and distracting
4) They contribute to a feeling of control
I actually found three other studies that seemed to confirm these findings. I can think of many reasons to avoid video games and for sure, too much of these games has shown to be harmful to relationships and productivity. However, it looks like playing a simple little video game for a short time after a long day can help us relax and forget about the stress from work for a while. So I guess maybe one of the reasons my wife is so much more relaxed than I am is because she likes to unwind with a couple games of Candy Crush.
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