Good News: Playing Games Can Help Us Win At Life

Working and playing are supposed to be two separate things, right? After all, the clue is in their names. It’s semantics, if you will. However, the line between learning and doing hard work and relaxing into fun activities may actually be more blurred than you think. You can actually gain a wealth of skills, simply due to your gaming habits.

Can Video Games Be Productive?

There are lots of different kinds of games, but let’s start with video games. In 2017, arguably everyone is familiar with the concept of video gaming, and many people play them, ranging from dabbling to full-blown obsessions.

As for whether playing video games can be productive, PhD holder Jane McGonigal says absolutely. According to her as quoted by Forbes, games can be “powerful tools to improve our attention, our mood, our cognitive strengths, and our relationships.” The same article points to the fact that a multitude of research is on her side. As opposed to being escapist, guilty pleasures, there’s actually some evidence to suggest that the likes of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft can improve your cognitive abilities. This is backed up by neuroscience!

So, how do they do this? Well, playing the recommended levels (read, not too much, so about 20 minutes, three times a week), can actually solidly improve your visual attention and spatial intelligence skills. In turn, these can be used to turn yourself into a bit of a whiz in the fields of science, tech, engineering and maths. Games of this nature can also help you cope with high-stress situations – they key is simply to not overdo it.

What About Bingo?

For a lot of people, first-person shooters can be a little intense. Thankfully, taking a leaf out of the older generation’s book with something a little calmer can be every bit as rewarding. These days, games like bingo are for everyone, especially because it’s all mostly done online in 2017. Sure, you can still play it with other people (which is a lot of fun), but it’s a lot easier to do from the comfort of your own home – and there are social online options too.

Playing bingo is great for your mental wellbeing, and it helps to keep your mind agile. After all, you need rapid hand-eye coordination, and to be able to think on your feet under pressure and within given time constraints. Researchers from the University of Southampton’s Centre for Visual Cognition believe that playing will contribute to staving off mental decline – all the more reason to get into it, really.

When you’re playing a game with a theme that actually interests you, it’s all the more easy to maintain your concentration, which is again, a transferable skill. With themed bingo games and even a community to discuss the different types of gameplay, it’s easy to become a natural in this world and stop yourself from losing your mind (literally) in the process.

What About Other Talents?

Some games don’t so much hone your academic skills as your creative or social ones. These are every bit as valid. Games such as the Dance Mat are great for helping you in coordination and the art of dance, whilst Rock Band is fantastic for inspiring musical passion. Creativity is beneficial on many levels!

Of course, some modern games even encourage us to hone our social skills. Gamers who typically isolate themselves in their homes can benefit from augmented reality, for example, which allows people to game on the go. Pokemon Go is a classic example of this, and shows that when people think they can unlock features of a game by actually venturing outside the house, they will go. And, once they do, they’re likely to make friends and exercise whilst they’re at it.

Should We Be Gaming At Work?

With all of these benefits from gaming in mind, perhaps it makes sense to game at work?

The assumption is correct, with many modern offices installing pool or ping-pong tables, or even setting up consoles. Gaming adds colour to the workplace, allows for increased levels of productivity, and leaves workers feeling refreshed and focused.

Gaming is a win-win for all. So game away!

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break. With a background in PR working in Los Angeles and Barcelona, Charlotte has been working hard running Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden for the past 4 years. Dried mangos, Starbucks and runs through Hyde Park get this Londoner through the day.

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