By Neal - 04/12/2021
We all know that playing games, whether it be a board game, a video game or a team sport, can be a great way to pass the time and have fun - we have been engaging in this activity since childhood! But many of us don’t realize that the benefits of playing games can have an immense positive effect on our lives, well into adulthood. Engaging in any type of game activity can have far reaching effects on both our mental and physical health and can allow us to be more focused and productive both at home and in the workplace.
Here are the top 17 reasons why playing games is good for you!
Most people associate “play time” with home time and spend their time at work slaving away at their desk for eight or even more hours. This is a common practice that has been ingrained in our society and most workplaces follow this way of thinking as well. New studies, however, are finding that when employees are allowed to mix work and fun together, on a regular basis, they look forward to coming to work, take less sick time, are willing to work harder at their jobs, are more productive and have a significantly increased sense of workplace satisfaction. Incorporating some kind of fun, gaming activity into your daily work day, will lead to happier and healthier employees.
Playing games, whether it be a physical sport, a board game or an online game like Solitaire, Freecell, or Spider, can have an enormous effect on the physical body and on mental health as well. Games have been shown to slow our breathing, heart rate and blood pressure and can have a calming effect, therefore reducing stress and the negative effects that it can have on us. Engaging in gaming activity on a regular basis can leave us feeling more relaxed and better able to cope with both the stressors that affect us at work, and those that we deal with at home as well.
If you look at a group of children in the school yard, engaged in some type of fun game, you are guaranteed to see a bunch of laughing, smiling faces. Not only are playing games fun, they also work wonders in boosting our mood. When we engage in an enjoyable group activity, our body begins releasing feel-good hormones, such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. These chemicals reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, boost our mood, increasing feelings of happiness.
Having a longer attention span means that we are able to focus on a single task, for a longer period of time, without becoming distracted. Attention span and focus is a skill that can be improved upon and can benefit us in all areas of our life, from focusing on lectures and schoolwork to sitting through meetings and staying focused on a project at work. Playing any type of game that requires concentration, whether it be a board game like monopoly or chess, or a video game, can help to increase our attention span and therefore improve both the length of time and the quality of our focus.
When used in the workplace, games can greatly improve moral and increase social interaction and camaraderie among employees. Playing games together, whether in pairs or in a larger team, can help to improve social skills and allows the players to get to know more about one another. It can improve teamwork and cooperation amongst one another. Having good workplace relationships between staff members will help to increase productivity and will improve the overall atmosphere, creating a fun but efficient work environment.
Studies have proven that playing games, especially video games or virtual reality games, can have a profound effect on reducing physical pain. When we engage in a fun and immersive experience, like a video game, not only do we become distracted and less aware of our physical reality, our bodies also start producing greater amounts of the chemical endorphin. This hormone reduces pain by blocking the signals to the brain that tell us to experience that pain.
Creative people are known for being full of interesting and unique ideas, they are usually good at problem solving and thinking outside the box. Studies have shown that people with a more creative mindset are usually happier, are able to better deal with stress and are motivated and productive in the workplace. Having a team of creative employees is definitely an asset to any company and playing games is one proven method to promote creative thinking.
Games of any type often require the use of our imagination skills combined with our ability to problem solve and come up with strategies to win. This combination requires us to use the parts of our brain that are responsible for creative thinking, making it easier for us to come up with creative ideas outside of the gaming environment and in other parts of our lives.
Being able to problem solve and come up with solutions to issues as they arise is a skill that can help us in all areas of our lives. Problem solving helps us to understand what is going on around us and allows us to think quickly in order to come up with different ways to approach new situations. Working on these skills by engaging in fun gaming activities is an excellent way to become better able to adjust quickly and think on your feet when a problem arises. All games, whether it be a video game, a sport or a board game present some sort of challenge that must be overcome using careful planning and critical thinking. Improving these skills through gaming will make them stronger and our abilities to problem solve outside of the game, will be greatly improved.
The Pomodoro Technique was developed in the 1980’s and is an excellent way to increase productivity and to work on time management skills, especially in the workplace. Francesco Cirillo used a tomato shaped kitchen timer (Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato!) to break his work time up into shorter increments. When the timer would go off, he would take a short, timed break, and then set the timer again and get back to work. He found that when working for shorter lengths of time, with a break in between, he was able to stay focused and accomplish more, than when working for longer intervals. He found that twenty-five minutes of work, with five to ten minutes of rest in between was the perfect length of time to allow for the maximum amount of productivity.
Including short games at frequent intervals throughout the day is an excellent way to utilize this technique and will give you something to look forward to on your short breaks. They will keep your mind active and stimulated while allowing you to step away from the task at hand.
It is no secret that everyone is different and everyone has unique strengths and weaknesses. Some people are great problem solvers while others are better at implementing the solutions that someone else has devised. Some are leaders while others are followers. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of both yourself and others can be an excellent way to increase productivity, especially when working in a team environment like a workplace.
There are a wide variety of different games that can identify where people’s strengths lie, and implementing them in the workplace is a great way to ensure that all employees are being given tasks that are best suited to their own, personal abilities.
Keeping your brain active and healthy is very important, and becomes even more so as we age. Activities, especially those that require problem solving and critical thinking, are especially good at stimulating our brain and keeping it healthy.
As we get older the amount of grey matter in our brain slowly begins to decrease. This particular part of the brain is directly responsible for memory, emotions and cognitive ability. Studies have shown that the more mentally active we are throughout life and into our later years, the more grey matter that we retain and therefore the more healthy and active our brains are as we age. Board games, video games and puzzles are all excellent ways to stimulate our minds and stay sharp, whether we are young or old.
When people don’t know each other well, it can be difficult to bridge that gap, especially in a workplace environment. Games, sports or any kind of friendly competition is the perfect way to bring people together and allow them to get to know one another. It can build friendships and gives everyone involved common ground to initiate conversation.
Whether you are a young student or an adult being taught a new skill or task, learning can often be tedious, tiring and downright boring. Taking in all of the information required to learn something new can be overwhelming for our brains and often the information that is retained is far less than the information that was originally given. Implementing games into the teaching process, however, can change all of this.
When learning is made fun through the use of interesting and interactive techniques like games or challenges, students report a better ability to focus and remain engaged. Not only will they be more eager to learn, they will also be better able to retain and implement the information that has been given to them.
This technique is already used in classrooms around the country but shouldn’t end after grade school. Utilizing games in the work environment is a great way to keep employees engaged and informed.
Self-esteem is the amount of confidence or faith that someone has in themselves and their abilities. Often when faced with a new challenge or situation, we may question if we are capable of pushing through and succeeding but through regular games, teamwork activities or sports, we are better able to build our trust in ourselves. Although it may feel scary, or place us out of our comfort zone, consistently working with others on a team can help us to feel more confident both in and out of the team environment.
Physical activity is so important, especially in today’s society where so many of us spend so much time sitting. Making a game out of physical activity is the perfect way to keep your body moving and can be an excellent way to encourage both young and old to get up and get active. Dance contests, Twister, races or sports are just a few ways that games can be used to make exercise fun.
Studies have shown that the more games that you play, the better your ability is to learn and retain information. When we are under stress, our bodies produce an excess amount of cortisol. This hormone can inhibit our ability to sleep, making us tired and unable to focus throughout the day. It can also dampen both your mood and your energy levels. Playing games and engaging in fun activities can reduce our stress and therefore reduce our cortisol levels, making learning new information and completing tasks easier
No matter what type of game you choose to play, it will require a wide variety of skills such as problem solving, concentration, perseverance and strategic thinking. All of these skills come into play outside of the game, when you are required to make a decision. The more games you play, the stronger these skills will become, not only making you a better gaming competitor but making you a stronger decision maker in all areas of your life.
There are so many different benefits to playing games. Not only do they have a positive physical effect on both our bodies and minds but they can make us smarter, increase our motivation and enhance our productivity. They can create a better and more exciting environment both at home and at the workplace and can create closer bonds between both family members and coworkers. The advantages of engaging in games are far reaching and endless. So what are you waiting for? Get out there, have some fun reaping all the benefits that different games can offer you, and start playing!