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3 Ways Gaming is Good for Your Health – and Here’s How

We explore 3 ways games can lead to happier and healthier lives for individuals of any age.

In today's chaotic landscape, the reality is stark: division dominates our lives, and mental health concerns, including loneliness, anxiety, and depression, are escalating. Reports from around the world reveal that upwards of 72% to 76% of adults report moderate to moderately severe levels of loneliness according to an article in a leading medical journal. According to the CDC, a concerning jump to 63% of young adults experienced anxiety or depression symptoms during COVID, with many feeling increasingly isolated, and rates have yet to fully return to pre-COVID levels. Yet, in this world where technology often divides, it also harbors a remarkable power to unite—through gaming.

In the following, we’ll explore 3 ways games can lead to happier and healthier lives for individuals of any age.

1. The Healing Power of Play

While gaming has often been dismissed as mere entertainment, emerging research shines a light on its profound benefits for mental, social, and emotional health. With the average young adult now spending upwards of 7 hours a week in virtual worlds, many report significant relief from stress and anxiety, underlining gaming's therapeutic potential. Additional benefits to planning, perseverance, and executive functions (mental abilities that help us get organized and pursue goals) have also been found in a number of studies. Exergames are also a great way to get moving, especially in areas with poorer weather.

2. Human Connection and Growth

For those of us embedded in the gaming community, the idea that games are both fun and beneficial comes as no surprise. Games offer a unique environment where players can explore their strengths, face challenges, and grow. They provide not just escape but support; not merely entertainment but real emotional connections.

Consider the experience of a seasoned gamer who found unexpected depth in the MMO "Palia," a game that rekindled the camaraderie and connection experienced in earlier gaming adventures. They shared:

"I was skeptical that Palia could captivate me as other MMOs like WoW and FFXIV did, where I spent hours, days, even, talking with people who became my closest friends. We've supported each other through life's highs and lows, from weddings to funerals. These relationships, formed in the glow of our screens, are among the most genuine I've ever had. There's a magic in gaming that can't be captured anywhere else because games give us a place to practice skills that are the foundation for any good relationship- communication and kindness- and Palia reminded me of that."

Another player expressed how their role-playing experiences translated into real-world confidence and insights:

"Role-playing different scenarios in DND allowed me to approach life with a new perspective, enhancing my real-life interactions and understanding of myself. It’s like rehearsing for reality, where the stakes are high, but the environment is supportive."

Working towards a common goal and seeing one’s choices and actions through the perspective of other players are essential for building trust and facilitating an environment of vulnerability, support, and personal growth.

gaming characters coming together

3. A New Approach to Mental Wellness

At Hero Journey Club, we harness these inherent benefits of gaming to address gaps in traditional mental health care. Our therapist-facilitated groups in games like Minecraft and Animal Crossing create safe spaces where members can explore personal challenges with like-minded peers and learn well-established practices for well-being, all within the comfort of familiar virtual worlds. The impact is clear: 93% of members feel better after each session, and many report lasting improvements in well-being comparable to intensive, in-person settings.

A Call to Connect

As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month, let us recognize and embrace the therapeutic value of gaming. It's more than a pastime; it's a lifeline, a community, a place to heal and connect. And for those seeking a guided journey towards mental wellness, Hero Journey Club offers a compassionate community ready to welcome you.

In this era of disconnection, let’s redefine what it means to be together, finding solace and strength in the worlds we love. Whether you game casually with friends or seek structured support, remember: in the world of gaming, you are never alone.

Experience Wellness with Hero Journey Club

At Hero Journey Club, we're pioneering a new pathway to mental wellness through the familiar and engaging medium of video games. Our sessions provide a blend of evidence-based practices and the supportive community of gaming, making mental health support accessible and enjoyable.

How to Sign Up:

Joining Hero Journey Club is easy and straightforward:

  • Visit our website, navigate to the program description section and click on Find Your Group.
  • Answer a few questions about yourself, including preferred game and session schedule.

What Does a Session Look Like?

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll log into both Discord and the selected game at the designated time and join a private, secure game area designated for your group session. Here, you’ll meet with other members and a therapist who will guide the session. Discussions and activities are conducted within the game, utilizing both the virtual environment and gameplay elements to explore and address various mental health topics. Each session aims to foster mutual support, resilience, and personal growth, all while engaging in your favorite gaming world.

Whether you're struggling with mental health issues or just seeking a deeper connection with like-minded individuals, Hero Journey Club offers a unique and comforting space to explore, grow, and heal. Why wait? Join us today and start your journey towards a healthier mind in the world of gaming.