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Lilo's Lair #55: Video Games Relieve Stress, Addiction, and Protect Mental Health. Presented by Saljack Enterprises. Gaming. Animation. Media. Entertainment. Woman Owned.

Hey you guys! Back for another “gaming is good for you” post. I like these. Previously I made a post about how gamers have potential to make good drone pilots. Not long after that I also wrote a blog about a new study saying gaming helps train the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Pretty cool! Today I’m coming at you with another article in the same vein. One about how gaming can be great for your mental health!

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First, let me talk about stress. Stress is no fun and not right for you. Massive amounts of stress can cause severe mental disorders. Unfortunately, stress is part of life, whether we like it or not, and the best defense against it is learning to cope when it hits. Fun things like controlled breathing and yoga. One set of folks who can have a high-stress job are people active in the military.

Late last year a study was published all about video games as stress relief for active military and veterans. What this study showed is that lots of military people used video games as a way to cope with stress. The specific coping mechanisms involved are escapism, managing self-diagnosed physical and/or psychological ailments, seeking social support, and connecting with civilian life.

What’s very interesting is that the ones in the study that used video games served longer in the military. Draw what conclusions you like from that, but one possibility is that video games improved quality of life in a high-stress job.

‘Fun factoid’ is the game of choice for these military people in the study was fantasy! Military-themed games was a close second though.

Now, another great way that video games help your mind involves Tetris. Tetris can prevent your brains’ ability to store new traumatic memories. Which means those memories are less likely to haunt you quite as much. That is not all that Tetris does though. It can diminish the mental pull towards cravings and addictions.

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IMAGE FROM WINDOWS CENTRAL

Let’s get back to the traumatic memories though. There is a theory that for several hours after a traumatic experience, the experience committing to memory can be messed with. That you could perhaps hi-jink the brain to put its efforts into other things that will disturb the memory process. Now, this is similar to what I mentioned above with gaming being a stress reliever. However what I’m talking about now is thwarting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

To back up these claims is a study titled “Preventing intrusive memories after trauma via a brief intervention involving Tetris computer game play in the emergency department…”. In this study, they decided to use Tetris because it has high spatial intelligence demands. The idea is that this type of game would disrupt sensory elements of the traumatic memory. In an emergency department, they were able to involve people who had been in a car crash within the last six hours. The results were fewer intrusive memories for those who played Tetris for twenty minutes versus those who didn’t. 

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IMAGE FROM THE VERGE

There was another study too. In this one, they showed traumatic movies to test subjects. How nice of them! Well, after showing the video some played Tetris, some didn’t. The same results were noted in this study. There was less recall of the trauma they witnessed if they played Tetris for just a brief time after the video. That is pretty wild!

However, Tetris probably isn’t the only thing that would produce the same effect. Candy Crush is another high visuospatial demand. Though you don’t even need to play a game. Trying to draw something from sight would be a similar type of activity as well.

Now, back to the addiction part. Apparently playing Tetris can also curb cravings and addictions. Everything from drugs to that extra slice of chocolate cake that’s been eyeing you from the counter. In the study that involved monitoring cravings, they collected college students as volunteers. Throughout a week they carried around iPods on which they would fill out a survey seven times a day on their cravings. Half got to follow up the survey with a measly three minutes of Tetris. Three minutes! What results did they see? A 13.9% craving reduction in the Tetris players. 

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What does this all mean? That Tetris could very well be a form of therapy for everyday stress, traumatic experience, and addictions or cravings. It all comes back down to the visual and spatial parts of the brain being used in the game, instead of elsewhere (where we don’t want it). At least, that’s the theory.

Now, there is another thing these studies have in common, and that is that they have small sample groups. Which means we can’t trust the results too much, unfortunately. It appears that many researchers are dedicated to this idea and continuing to research further. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth a shot right away! It could help with a diet, could help for quitting cigarettes or going sober. It would also be a great thing to have if any of us have the misfortune to experience something traumatic. I know I’m going to go download Tetris to my phone for a rainy day!

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Also, don’t forget that gaming, in general, can help to cope with everyday stress. Consider it your medicine and take it daily–haha.

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Click here to read Lilo Nash’s profile

DISCLAIMER: THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS POST ARE SOLELY THOSE OF THE AUTHOR. THESE VIEWS AND OPINIONS DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THOSE OF SALJACK ENTERPRISES, ITS STAFF, AND ANY/ALL CONTRIBUTORS TO THE SALJACK ENTERPRISES WEBSITES. SALJACK ENTERPRISES MAKES NO WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION REGARDING, DOES NOT ENDORSE, IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH AND IS NOT IN ANY WAY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LINKED WEBSITES OR ANY CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON IT. IF YOU DECIDE TO VISIT ANY LINKED WEBSITE, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK, AND IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO REVIEW THE TERMS OF USE OF THE RELEVANT LINKED WEBSITE.

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22 thoughts on “Lilo’s Lair #55: Video Games Relieve Stress, Addiction, and Protect Mental Health

  1. I’ve always loved playing Tetris even before. After learning from this blog that it reduces cravings, I’ll definitely play this game more! Haha 🙂

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  2. Chatingale says:

    Playing video games keeps your mind active. I believe it can relieve stress because you will shift your focus on the game.

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  3. miakayuuki2012 says:

    Majority of things are beneficial even games. The only bad thing about it is overdoing it. Moderation people.

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  4. amaterasu123 says:

    Games can be a sort of escape. I know because it had done that for me mot of the time. I am not overdoing it though.

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  5. valine13 says:

    Yes I agree. It makes you forget or deviate from the things that makes you depressed or addicted to.

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  6. Mau says:

    Interesting article Lilo. I could understand playing video games as a stress reliever since it’s enjoyable and captures ones attention. Regarding the Tetris study, can’t help but think that you might have skipped the cake you are craving for but instead it got replaced by playing Tetris, which could possibly be another kind of addiction. It’s like you just replaced one addiction with another. Just a thought.

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  7. It’s true though. Sometimes during a long day at work especially when it’s stressful, I tune out by playing games. Good games let me forget about the stressors at work and I’m able to immerse in another realm. Even as fast as 10 minutes helps.

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    1. 17keane says:

      This scenario actually rings true for many of us working class heroes nowadays. You’re defo not alone with your brand of stress relief, dude

      Like

  8. rob3rtow says:

    I’m a proud gamer but I think anything that distracts you from the things that stresses you out can pretty much offer some form of mental relief. But the part where video games being a potential way to remedy addiction is something else..

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  9. darkkvader says:

    Now I want to play games! Thanks for this helpful tip!

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  10. chinodc1 says:

    It is true in most cases that video games relieve stress. But sometimes it’s also the cause of stress,

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  11. I love playing Tetris. Ever since I was in high school there was this game where you compete with another player to build faster. Good times

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  12. I can absolutely relate to you Lilo Nash. I also do play Video Games in order to relieve stress. It also helps me to improve my coordination and creativity.

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  13. Grecy Garcia says:

    I agree. I was playing Tetris after school and during long hours of break at school before. I noticed that after playing it, I am more active in listening and speaking at school. In fact, I have higher grades on some subjects after break in the morning compare to the morning class subject.

    Like

  14. mchesk16 says:

    I’m a Tetris junkie so I find this article very uplifting. I could see how playing video games would be a good escape. I could also see war games bringing back traumatic memories for soldiers so they should stick to the Candy Crush.

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  15. grayicemake says:

    I can play Tetris for hours but not up to speed 5 ha ha. Yes I suck at tetris but I still love it. It is a classic.

    Like

  16. skydragonwendymarvell says:

    There is a TETRIS upgrade? Well thanks for the heads up? Where can I download this?

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  17. if i remember correctly, there was this article that stated that video games helped improve people’s minds so long as they played for at most 21 hours a week. I believe it was a research paper too.

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  18. coyleon says:

    Video games may seem like an alternative remedy to addiction but tread with caution.. gaming (and doing so excessively) can become an obsession, too.

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  19. adrianfaul7 says:

    Who in their right mind would want to volunteer to sit down and watch anything traumatic (think surgery videos, victim beheadings, popping zits, etc.)? Although their bravery is commendable, the folks participating in that study may have gotten more than what they bargained for :-/ and oh, thanks Tetris!

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  20. I assure you that this is true. As someone who suffers from depression and mental health issues, playing video games help me cope with my disorder. It keeps me busy and it makes me alert and calm. It is also an exercise for the brain.

    Like

  21. roberachi says:

    I can say I agree with this post one hundred percent as I have first-hand experience. After a long day of stress in the office a little gaming makes the mind and also the body fully relaxed. It has become a daily routine and a remedy.

    Like

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