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Gaming and Life: Getting the Balance Right

Gaming is one of those things that everybody’s got an opinion on, especially when it comes to mental health. Ultimately, they can have both a positive and negative effect. They can provide mental stimulation and help develop problem-solving skills, and can even be helpful for managing conditions such as depression ...

Gaming is one of those things that everybody’s got an opinion on, especially when it comes to mental health. Ultimately, they can have both a positive and negative effect. They can provide mental stimulation and help develop problem-solving skills, and can even be helpful for managing conditions such as depression and anxiety, as well as enabling connection through online communities.

gaming and life animal crossing cozy gaming
cozy gaming can be great for mental health

On the other hand, excessive gaming can result in aggression, isolation, and a desire to escape real life, which is why it’s so important to get the gaming and life balance right. But what can we actually do to ensure that we are working effectively to ensure that we experience all of the benefits without feeling the negative effects?

Understand Your Gaming Triggers

One of the benefits of gaming in general is that you are being challenged, however, there comes a time when we are getting more and more frustrated because we’re not able to unlock a certain achievement or complete a specific level. It gets to the point where we end up doing so much and become so obsessed in getting past this, it is to the detriment of many other aspects, not just of our gaming but of our abilities to live in that moment. When we understand our gaming triggers, we can put in certain techniques and tools to stop those mental and emotional frustrations. 

Sometimes switching a game can be very useful and it makes sense that we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of cozy gaming. But it’s not just about making sure that we change, but we also look at something that’s restorative. Much like exercise, if we end up doing too much of the intense stuff, it is to the detriment of our physical health. The same applies to gaming. Swapping a game that is overly stimulating to something like online chess can give you a whole heap of benefits because you’re stepping away from your triggers, but you’re also investing your brain in something else.

Balancing Gaming with Other Activities

We don’t want to hear that we’ve got to switch our console off. However, moderation is key in every aspect of our lives, not just in gaming. We should recognize our gaming triggers, but then also understand where we need to leave things be when we sense ourselves going overboard. Lots of people hate the idea of switching off a game when you’re in full flow, but even if you think you’re on the verge of a breakthrough, actually taking some time away to give yourself over to another restorative activity away from screens can be fantastic for overall self-care. 

Regular breaks are something we don’t want to necessarily do, however, we should remember that gaming is not supposed to be a complete escape, which is why gaming should be part of a healthy lifestyle. When you recognize the benefits of gaming for you, it’s vital to be mindful of those excessive habits that can wreak havoc on our mental health. And this means that even if all of your friends are constantly gaming into the night, does this mean you should be? There is definitely that fear of missing out, however, why don’t you take the time to schedule an evening with friends? 

Older adults do it all of the time because of various life duties, and this is a lesson in actually putting things into your life that will take you away from gaming on occasion. Exercise routines, socializing, and even time for self-care are all things that will make you feel better about yourself, so when you get back to gaming, you will feel far better for it.

Pay Close Attention to Your Mental Health

If gaming interferes with other priorities such as sleep and relationships, or you start to experience increased negative effects like insomnia or anxiety, or you play for longer than you intend, it’s not to say you have an addiction to gaming; however, you need to know when your upper limits are. It’s much like people who gamble need to be totally aware of when it stops being fun. 

Gaming is something that should be a healthier escape when we do it right, but if we end up prioritizing that over other things that we know are important, we’ve got to get back to the bare basics. Focusing on getting that balance right is so important because it will help you in the right ways, but it can be easy to give yourself over to a game and lose a lot of time. Sometimes we just need to step away from the real world and absorb ourselves in something, but if you do this all of the time, it might be surprising to hear that this can have negative effects further down the line, so focus on getting the balance right now.

How do you keep your gaming and life balance?

Thanks for reading,
Vikki 🎮


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