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The positive effects of gaming on mental health

You might have heard news in the media about the negative impacts and dangers of gaming.

But there can be positives too, take a look at some of the potential benefits of gaming here.

1. Keeping in touch

Gaming communities and chats can help people to feel less isolated, and it can be a way to stay in touch with friends or family who do not live nearby. You should be really careful about who you are speaking to and what information you disclose though, as not everyone is who they say they are.

2. De-stress

Some people find that games allow them to find a place where they can periodically take their mind away from negative thoughts and emotions, helping them to unwind. Or that it allows them focus on a simple goal, such as achieving wins, which can be fulfilling.

3. Learning

Themes of mental health and illness in some games can help people to reflect on their own lives too. Learning ways to overcome challenges in games can set people up to deal with real-life problems and obstacles.

It’s still important to remember that video games are works of fiction, and dangerous behaviours and actions that you can get away with in a game, such as reckless driving, should not be used in day-to-day life.

So, when does gaming become harmful?

There is a difference between a healthy relationship with gaming and one that is negatively affecting your mental health. If gaming is causing you stress and anger, or if you’re using it as a coping mechanism to forget about the world around you, then it may be worth thinking about changing your gaming habits.

Read 7 signs that gaming is affecting your life.

Remember to take regular breaks from playing, particularly if you’re:

  • Tired or hungry
  • Sad or angry
  • Beginning to forget about personal responsibilities, like homework or going to the toilet

If you’re finding it hard to stop playing, you can also start to become addicted to games. This could affect how much sleep you get at night, your concentration and even your results at school or college. It could also mean you lose touch with friends because they never see you anymore.

how to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

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