Gaming is Helping People Cope During the COVID-19 Lockdown

Video games have received a notorious amount of negative press over the years by those who want to scapegoat them for antisocial behaviors. But now, that might be changing. People around the world are struggling to handle staying indoors during the coronavirus quarantine. But gaming is helping people cope with their anxieties and social isolation.

People Of All Ages Are Turning to Video Games to Help Them With COVID-19

Right now, kids and adults alike are playing a lot of video games. Unable to go outside and participate in their usual activities, they are discovering games help fill the gap.

Gaming Can Restore a Sense of Control and Safety

If you are a gamer who suffers from anxiety or depression, you probably have known for years that games can help. But now, gamers are vindicated to hear mental health experts speaking up about video game benefits.

Time quotes Michelle Colder Carras, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins University. Carras says, “When you’re battling yourself with traumatic thoughts, you can lose yourself in a game. Right now, during this pandemic, real life is the traumatic situation. What games are able to do for people in mental health recovery, all of society now needs.”

Indeed, gaming helps restore a sense of control, as emphasized by The Onion. Recently, the satirical publication ran a story relevant to the topic. Its title is, “‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Developers Confirm No One Can Hurt You Here, No One Can Make You Scared.”

It is vital that we stay connected to what is going on in the world, and that we face our fears. But looping anxious thoughts all day and all night doesn’t help us in any practical way. Games can help us get centered and positive again. Ultimately, that may help us to be more solution-minded when we do deal with our real-world problems.

Playing Games Can Help People Stay in Touch

Along with being able to alleviate anxiety and offer an immersive distraction from COVID-19, gaming also is helping people to stay connected.

Dr. Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioural Addiction, recently delved into the topic. He writes, “Friendship, social support, and being in a like-minded community are just some of the reasons that online gaming is going to be so popular at a time when we are being asked to stay indoors as much as possible.”

When gamers achieve goals together in MMOs, it can also serve as a reminder of what is possible when we join forces with others. This may empower us to tackle the challenges we face because of COVID-19.

Andrew Fishman, who works at a mental health clinic, also talked about this on Psychology Today. He writes, “People all over the country are using video games not only as something to pass the time, but also to stay connected.” He adds, “In the same way that parents might go to a poker night with their friends, it’s healthy to bond with people over video games.”

Online Gambling Joins Video Games in Alleviating Stress

Speaking of poker, some people during COVID-19 are turning not just to video games, but to online casino games. Indeed, like video games, online casino games can help to relieve stress. Thus, this type of gaming is helping people code with COVID-19 as well. The New York Times talks about slots being “less about risk and excitement than about maintaining a hypnotic flow of action.”

In psychology, “flow” is a state where one is immersed in the moment. A person experiencing flow stops thinking about other things. Time and worries fade to the backdrop. So, if you get into a state of flow, you might stop thinking about COVID-19 for a little while. You can really relax and be in the now.

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Stay Social, Relieve Anxiety, and Immerse Yourself in a World of Gaming

Whether you are interested in online gambling or in video games on a console, this is the time to get into gaming. Games of all kinds can help to create a state of “flow.” They can take your mind off your problems and let you explore a world with structure, safety and control. Playing multiplayer and co-op games can help you stay connected to family and friends you cannot see outside of quarantine.

Will life ever get back to normal again? Probably not entirely. It looks like COVID-19 is probably here to stay, and more quarantines are likely. But whatever the case may be, let’s hope that what the world learns about video games remains. Finally, folks are realizing just how much of a mental health benefit they can offer for relieving anxiety, loneliness, depression and stress. Gaming is helping people cope with COVID-19, and it can help them cope with life’s other challenges as well.