Online games that are good for your mental health

Online games that are good for your mental health

computer games good for the brain

We’ve all grown up with the idea that video games, whether they’re on a game console or online, are bad for you. Our parents told us that they were bad for our concentration levels, while the media claimed that they incited violence. Well, the truth is we now know that not only are video and online games not as bad as we once thought, but some argue they are actually good for you. We look at the subject and find out more

In recent years, a number of studies have shown that video games, when played in moderation, enhance your ability to focus, particularly in high-pressure situations. So, with this in mind, we thought we’d take a look at a few online games that you can enjoy guilt-free, knowing that they may be giving you more mind and mood benefits that you realise.

Which computer games may help improve your mind and mood?

The first up is chess. Now, it stands to reason that chess is a serious brain workout. Parents around the world would love nothing more than to hear their kids say ‘I was playing chess all night last night.’ While it is undoubtedly a great game for pushing your mind to its limits, there’s a lot of studying involved. If you don’t know how to play already, then there’s a steep learning curve, don’t let this put you off however as there has been a lot of research to suggest that learning a new skill is important for keeping the mind young and active.

A game that’s easier to pick up is Scrabble. Now there are a lot of Scrabble-style games available online, so it really doesn’t matter which one you opt for. The whole point is that you’re tapping into your vocabulary and, in many cases, enhancing it. Did you know that ‘yex’ is an actual word? Neither did we, but there are tons of obscure words out there in the Scrabble world that, once learned, will make you feel that little bit smarter. Scratch that, they will actually make you smarter.

Card games can be great for your focus and concentration. A great reason for the occasional game of patience or solitaire which can be downloaded for free. Another strategic game that you might not have guessed is good for you is poker. It's a real workout for the brain as you try to keep up with the cards that are being dealt and how your opponents are reacting to certain situations. There are tons of strategies to adopt in your game, and this sort of concentration and strategic thinking has been shown to improve mental skills. Whether you are trying out your new skills at a local tournament, or online please ensure you gamble responsibly if you chose to play for money.  

Shoot-em-up! Now, while you might not think it at first, our next option is really good for your brain. First person shooter games have a reputation for glorifying violence, but you don’t need to get overly gory, there are plenty of fairground style shooting games that are both fun AND beneficial. The reason we have this type of online game on our list is that they are incredible for boosting your reaction times. Your eye-to-hand coordination can’t help but improve when your online avatar’s life is at stake, and there is some evidence that this improved reaction time helps in your everyday life. From driving to carrying out tasks at work, having a better reaction time not only makes you faster, but (in the case of driving in particular) it may also make you better.

So, the next time you want to hook up the game console or go online to play some games, try not to think too negatively. If you’re clever about it and choose your games carefully, then it’s like doing exercise for your brain. Just be careful not to get too into it; we’re quite sure that six hours of gaming in the wee hours of the morning won’t do you much good at all.


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