Can PC Gaming Be the Answer to Improve Mental Health?
November 01, 2019
How do you perceive the topic of PC gaming and mental health? Understandably, the answer might depend on whether you are a gamer or not. Yet, the research might surprise you on how there is a beneficial connection between the two!
Let’s discuss further:
There are an estimated 1.82 billion PC (Public Computer) gamers1 worldwide, and that number is expected to keep increasing. Researchers have forecasted that there will be more PC gamers in China by 20232 than the entire population of the United States. There seems to be no end in sight as PC gaming technology and equipment are continuously advancing, and this may be an excellent thing for gamers!
Studies have shown that young PC gamers, on average, have higher IQs and perform better on cognition tests3 than of those who do not partake in gaming. Findings have also shown evidence of PC gaming having lasting effects on other mental processes like perception, attention, memory, and decision making.4
For individuals that experience depression and anxiety, PC gaming might be a helpful tool to combat negative mental health symptoms. For instance, if you game for 30 minutes per day5, research has shown gaming can help alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms. Alternatively, the source of an increase in anxiety may be due to sedentary gaming.
Goodbye to Sedentary Days
The average person is known to sit for nine hours per day6 . Sitting for extended lengths of time has been so normalized and standard that the scientific community has even coined a term called sitting disease7 (refers to the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle).
However, the growing body of research shows that alternating between sitting and standing for 30 minutes provides optimal mental and physical health8 in comparison to a sedentary lifestyle. Fortunately, the enhancements of the everyday desk to an adjustable height desk has had immense benefits on both the player's gaming performance but also their overall health.
For instance, the FlexiSpot9, an electric height-adjustable desk frame, ensures gamers of smooth and comfortable transitions but also allows you to be more engaged and reactive in the game because your body can mimic the movements of your character. Also, the use of standing desks for gaming has shown to help gamers play better. It is a win-win situation!
Fighting the Stigma
For those that watch television or listen to any form of media, you probably are familiar with the comparison of PC gaming resulting in a negative impact on a person’s mental wellbeing. Roughly, 36% of adults10 believe there is a correlation between gaming and violent behavior. However, researchers have shown that it is not the case.
Due to widespread concern on aggression and violent games, a study was conducted to look at PC gamers playing violent video games over six months. The researchers found there were no significant changes in aggression levels of players11. So, if you hear of a connection between aggression and gaming, it is more of an assumption than fact.
Ultimately, PC gaming has changed the lives and the world as we know it since its inception. The new advances in gaming technology and the improvement of everyday furniture is setting up gamers to thrive with optimal health. PC gaming provides access to a community of other people who they may have never had the chance of connecting with if they were not gaming. PC gaming has and continues to improve mental health symptoms, promote social connection, increases cognitive benefits, and innovates ways to improve physical health. PC gaming has come a long way and is embedded in our society. As it continues to advance and grow; it will be exciting to see what happens next.