It is critical for us to take care of our mental health.
There is a lot of talk about mental health right now. Recently, a campaign was launched in the United Kingdom pushing for businesses to train people in first aid for mental health in the same manner as first aid for physical health. Another campaign launched in October 2018 by mental health charity Time to Change aims to encourage men to “ask twice” if their friends are all right. The reasoning behind this campaign is that people, Brits especially, use a default answer of “I’m fine” to the question “Are you ok?” often without thinking.
Improving Your Mental Health
Like your physical health, there are many ways to look after your mental health. However, understanding what you need for yourself is entirely personal — what works for one person may not work for another. Some people find that physical exercise helps while others prefer to take time to relax and do nothing. Some like to meet friends while others like to “recharge” by themselves. Hobbies are another significant boost to mental health, and many often require a group.
For example, if you enjoy reading books, you could join a book club. Those that enjoy watching films could arrange a movie night with friends, and anyone who enjoys walking or hiking could take an afternoon stroll with a partner. Another proven way of looking after your mental health is by playing games, whether they be board games, card games or video games.
Boosting Cognitive Skills
Some games require a certain level of understanding of the rules to win, which is a good challenge for your mental abilities. Games have been proven to boost test problem-solving abilities, helping to develop this skill further. Other brain development comes from improving memory formation and faster reactions.
To succeed in games such as poker and Monopoly, players must develop a playing strategy that remains within the rules but gives them an advantage over their opponents. For example, in poker, deciding to play tight (folding frequently) or aggressively (betting and raising frequently) may provide an advantage, depending on the way your opponents play. While in Monopoly, a strategic player will prioritize which properties they buy, some squares on a Monopoly board have a higher chance of a player landing on them than others, making some property more profitable to own.
Reduced Stress and Increase Happiness
A healthy distraction is always an ideal way to reduce your stress levels. A recent survey conducted by RealNetworks found that 53% of respondents play games to reduce their stress levels while 64% played them to relax and unwind. Mixing your gameplay with others — again, through board games such as Monopoly, card games like poker or even online through platforms such as Xbox Live — will provide an element of social interaction, which is also proven to reduce stress. A reduction in stress and more social interaction while also playing a game you enjoy can also help to boost your happiness levels.
From the ever-increasing coverage in the media, it is becoming evident that we all need to look after our mental health, and to help others where we can. Reducing stress and increasing social interaction are excellent ways to help your mental health. A simple and fun way to achieve this is by playing games. Whatever your game of choice is, it could be great for improving your mental health.