12 Ways Playing Board Games Improves Your Mental Health
We recently met Michael Adams from Mikko games. Here Michael shares some top reasons why we all need board games in our lives. We may be called The Business Womans Network, however many of our members are business men too. We would love to welcome you to our mastermind group events too. Thank you for sharing Michael. To read the full story head to Mikko Games website here
MAKES YOU HAPPY AND LAUGH
The first benefit of playing board games that most people probably think of is that they’re fun. They are a great way to pass the time and enjoy spending time with your friends and family.
A side effect of this fun is laughter. Laughing has been proven to trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. Endorphins have the power to improve conscious and unconscious mind functions, leaving a person feeling cheerful, compassionate and ultimately content.
Action Tip – Don’t underestimate the power of laughing and having fun with your friends. Choose a game that encourages you to be silly and laugh, like Blockbuster or Scrawl. Anything that gets you to break out of your shell and just be in the moment, having fun. Remember, when it comes to having better mental health, time spent having fun is never time wasted.
NATURAL STRESS REDUCERS
According to an online survey of over 5000 people by RealNetworks Inc., a casual games developer, found that 64% of respondents said they play games with the primary intention to induce relaxation, and 53% play specifically to reduce stress.
Finding the time in your day to relax and enjoy yourself, such as by playing a board game, has a major impact on both your mental and physical health. Feeling stressed doesn’t just feel bad in the moment. If it isn’t properly managed, your stress can have serious implications on your overall health and life expectancy.
Playing board games can provide you with a much-needed release of energy after a stressful day of work. They help you to unwind, relax, and not let your mind be consumed by whatever negative things are going on in your life that may be leading to stress. Instead, you can have fun and escape into the world of a board game. There’s no need to worry about the trivialities of life for a few hours. Or perhaps the structure of a clear set of rules is a safe barrier against the chaotic world outside.
Apart from the distraction that playing board games can provide, a 2017 study on stress management found that playing certain board games can help train your body’s fight-or-flight response (the body’s natural response to stress). This means that by playing board games, you’re giving yourself healthy opportunities to practice facing stressful situations to develop your coping skills for when you feel stress in the real world.
Action Tip – If you find yourself stressed and unsure of how to handle it, try getting some friends together to play some games. It will help you relax and enjoy yourself and will take your mind off of whatever else is going on in your life and make you happy – even if only temporarily.
MAKES SOCIALISING EASIER, REDUCING ISOLATION
When you suffer from mental health issues like anxiety and depression, it can be extremely difficult to go out and socialise with others. Consequently, people who suffer from mental health problems tend to report increased loneliness, which is a contributing factor to worsening mental health. However, board games solve a lot of these problems as they offer a structured way to meet others and provide a social world in themselves.
Playing board games allows you to socialise with a group of people without having to worry about coming up with things to talk about. For people who have mental health problems such as social anxiety, playing games can be a great chance to work through their issues and socialise with others without the presence of any additional social pressures. Playing games also fosters positive relationships and can help fight off feelings of isolation by giving one a sense of community.
While you may not be an overly social person, and believe that you’re completely fine spending time by yourself, studies have shown that socializing with other people and experiencing more human connection is the most effective way to lead a happy and fulfilling life.
Action Tip – If you’re feeling lonely or isolated, reach out to a few friends and try to create a group you can regularly play board games with. Or, if you still live at home with your parents, start to play games with them so you begin to remember what it’s like to interact with other people.
GIVES YOU AN ENERGY BOOST
When you suffer from mental health issues like depression it can feel like you have no energy at all. Sometimes even getting out of bed feels impossible. This is understandable and not anything to be ashamed about. When you finally feel ready to break the cycle of doing nothing you may wonder where to turn to.
Real-life chores or work might still be too much for you but a board game can be a great place to start. It’s an activity that’s designed to be fun, and while you’re playing games you will naturally start to gain more and more energy. If you really focus and put your heart into it, you’ll find that being involved in something interactive gives you the boost you’ve needed.
Action Tip – Consider board games as the first step on your road to better mental health. When you feel low and don’t feel like doing anything, try playing a board game to give you the boost of energy you need to start feeling better again.
INCREASES YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE
When you suffer from mental health problems like depression, you can lose confidence in yourself. You can struggle to believe in your abilities and feel useless. Board games can help more than you realise. Not only will board games make socialising easier, but they also help you to become more self-assured.
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