COVID-19, coronavirus, Lockdown, Assam, Guwahati, mental health, social stigma
As per the preliminary findings, 22 per cent of those counselled were stressed due to job loss while 11 per cent were worried about their financial insecurities. Illustration: iStock

Stressed? Go play a video game online, it's good for mental health

This may surprise many, but online gaming may be good for one’s mental health.

Stressed individuals turning to yoga, meditation and exercise now have the gaming option too, and is advised by mental health professionals themselves.

The new treatment has come in the wake of, of course, the pandemic, as lockdowns and social isolation caused a spike in mental health problems.

An article in the World Economic Forum pointed out that almost half of US adults reported higher stress levels in April 2020 compared with the previous month, as COVID made news globally.

Since then, across the world, there has been increasing demand for professional help to tackle pandemic-induced mental health problems.

According to studies, playing video games can help one relax, concentrate better and improve mindfulness. As players complete simple tasks or levels within a game, the happiness hormone called dopamine is released, and can boost confidence and help develop social skills.

While some video games have come under fire for their addictive nature, gaming can provide an immersive retreat from real-world stresses and strains, research shows.

Also read: More men are seeking counselling; work from home, spouse stress among issues

Blending traditional talk therapy with gaming can help encourage patients with mental health conditions to open up and engage more fully with their treatment. Practitioners either encourage patients to play alone or join them on multiplayer online gaming platforms, such as Roblox or Minecraft, the article pointed out.

Referred to as ‘flow’ by psychologists, the feeling of being totally immersed in a game can help players block out feelings, problems and worries they are experiencing in real life.

Online gaming as therapy is not a new idea, however, and certainly no replacement for traditional methods of treating mental health. But it’s an extra tool that therapists can use as patients line-up outside clinics.

Organisations such as not-for-profit Geek Therapy have advocated using video gaming in therapeutic, educational and community practice for more than a decade, the WEF article said.

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