For most adults, one of the happiest memories of childhood has to do with playing games with friends. Perhaps in a big way, this is the memory that gets rekindled when one plays video games! There is no doubt that a lot of people state that playing online games can lead to depression and even stress. But equally, if not more, important is the amount of evidence that points to the converse.
Indeed, online games can help the brain in many ways including fighting off depression and here is how.
The world of online games is vast and encompasses genres and games such as:
• Multi-player games.
• Arcade and so on.
There are also games aimed at helping people deal with depression. Such games could be built around real-life scenarios and helping people understand specific responses and so on.
Taking the holistic view
Most experts in areas related to mental well-being will tell you that games are part of the many solutions for depression. They can help along with other solutions of therapy, medication, counselling and so on. Something as simple as taking the help of an online action game to deal with feelings of violence can help stave off depression.
The social aspect
There are two ways of looking at the social aspect of online games. First is the game community itself and second is social media networking. When you play a multi-player game online, you become a part of a community playing the same game and you get a chance to talk to them from the safety of an avatar. The usual factors that cause depression may not hold any meaning in such a virtual world.
Social networking sites are also dedicated to helping gamers converse about so many aspects of the game. The dual facets of this community – anonymity and sociability – can also help most people deal with emotions such as loneliness that can often lead to severe depression.
Online games can help people develop skills of strategic thinking and a mind-set that lends itself to solving problems. If this mind-set and skill set can be transferred to real life then a person is more likely to approach everyday problems with a different approach rather than get bogged down by it all.
This is a point that was made by Brian Sutton-Smith who came up with the idea that the opposite of play is not work, it is depression. One thing about engaging in and winning in online games is that it can foster positive emotions associated with victory. This positive frame of mind can help in the real world too.
There is also the fact that at least for some time an individual can get some respite from the daily grind of life that can bog him or her down and try out a new life. Perhaps the big difference between the virtual world and the real world is that an online game can put someone in control and this can be hugely empowering in more ways than one.