The Healthy Gamer: What You Need To Know
Are you a dedicated gamer? Do you love spending hours immersed in your favorite computer or console game? Do you sometimes feel that you spend an unhealthy amount of time on it? Would you like to be healthy gamer? If so, read below for the answer!
Gaming: Good or Bad?
- Your ability to chart the fate of your game world can give you feelings of competence and autonomy. Studies have shown that such engagement has been linked with higher self-esteem and positive emotions.
- It allows you to spend time with your friends. It is particularly useful for keeping in touch with friends who are not easy to meet in person.
- It relieves stress by temporarily get your mind off stressful issues in your life and allow you to cool down.
- You can achieve greater multi-tasking ability and improved cognitive skills. From chess to first person shooters, all games require skill and honing those skills will improve your cognitive ability.
- You may spend too much time gaming, to the detriment of other aspects of your life. For example, you may refuse to hang out with your friends, affecting your social life. You may refuse to exercise, affecting your health. You may put off sleep, affecting your tiredness the next day.
- Instead of relieving stress, you may end up creating stress. This point may doubly apply if you are a competitive person who hates losing.
- Your posture or form may be poor, resulting in repetitive stress injuries. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for professional gamers to have carpal tunnel syndrome and other maladies involving their hands.
Now that we have listed some pros and cons, how can we reap the benefits of gaming while minimizing the downsides? You will notice that the downsides of gaming can be largely divided into two categories: too much stress and too much time spent. Let’s tackle each one separately.
How to reduce gaming stress
- Make a point to stand up and walk around every 20 minutes or so. Incorporate a stretch or two for your wrists and fingers. Since games can be extremely engrossing, I recommend promising yourself ahead of time at which points you will take a break. It does not take very long at all but can yield a lot of benefits.
- Spend a good amount of time making sure your setup is comfortable and sustainable. Don’t be afraid to invest in good keyboards, mouse pads, and other accessories to make sure you do not feel discomfort.
- If you feel yourself getting angry or stressed out over a game, take a deep breath, take a break, and go for a quick walk. If you find yourself uncontrollably angry, the best remedy may be to step away from the game entirely for a couple days.
- If other people are upsetting you, just know that they are random people who do not know you.
- You can use gaming as an excuse to meet people in person, so that you can have fun and also be social! How’s that for being a healthy gamer?
How to avoid overplaying
- Make yourself busy and schedule non-gaming events. Doing so counters the tendency for gaming to expand and fill up all of your free time. By consciously prioritizing events outside of gaming, you will be better prepared to limit your time in gaming.
- Give yourself a stopping criterion. For example, stop if you win two games or play four games, whichever occurs first. This way, you are not cutting your experience short using an arbitrary time limit. Be careful of impossible stopping criteria!
Healthy gaming is an exercise in self-control. Now that you have some strategies in managing your game time, let’s go be a healthy gamer!