6 Ways Online Games Help to Improve Your Mental Health

6 Ways Online Games Help to Improve Your Mental Health


Video games and online games have long been perceived as ‘mindless entertainment’ and ‘addictive’, with parents frequently reprimanding kids for spending too much time on games when they should be out playing sports, of course, one doesn’t necessarily preclude the other. Fortunately, there’s been a cultural shift in the last decade as millennials come of age and parents today are more open to and aware of the idea that gaming is good for your mental health. That’s not surprising, as most of us grew up being reprimanded by our parents for our love for gaming!

Today, there’s a growing body of evidence showing that gaming offers several mental health benefits for both adults and kids, with the United Nations also pointing to these benefits. So, while gaming may not be a substitute for affordable online therapy, if used positively, there are many ways in which it can help your mental health.

How Online Games Can Improve Your Mental Health


Far from being a mindless activity, most online games require problem-solving and logic to get you through. They make you think. This is particularly true with complex strategy games that require higher-level thinking. Online strategy games require players to think strategically and respond quickly, promoting the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This idea is also supported by research, which suggests that the challenges of strategy games can strengthen problem-solving, while the collaborative teamwork that many strategy games require can improve communication skills.

Spatial Skills

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just puzzle and strategy games that offer mental health benefits. The often frowned upon violent shooter games have also been found to be extremely effective at enhancing spatial skills. Research shows that playing online shooter games can improve cognitive abilities such as mental rotation and spatial memory, which are critical for tasks like navigation and understanding three-dimensional structures. Studies also indicate that gaming increases brain regions associated with spatial orientation and cognitive processing, supporting its potential use in educational and professional training programs.


With our highly competitive and often dissatisfying work lives today, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unimportant, which is why so many people struggle with low self-worth and self-esteem issues. When you’re gaming, however, there are clearly defined goals and objectives that offer great satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. The rewards can also feel more tangible with new levels or features unlocked, trophies or badges awarded, and so on.

Recovering from Trauma

All of us deal with loss and other tragedies that can be traumatic, but this can cause lasting damage for many. Severe emotional trauma is hard to overcome and requires therapy, but online games can also make this journey easier. Gaming serves as a distraction from the trauma, which is often the first step in overcoming mental disorders such as depression, stress, anxiety, and traumatic stress disorders. The benefits of gaming for recovery from PTSD are also highlighted by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.


One of the primary reasons for the mental health crisis that exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic was social isolation from lockdowns and quarantines. We are social animals and require regular social interactions for our mental health. As observed by several studies, multiplayer and online gaming during the pandemic helped many users overcome social isolation and gave them a sense of connection. Gaming often requires collaborative efforts and fosters trust, providing users with a low-stakes environment in which they can safely test new relationships with little to no risk.

Coping Mechanism

Online games can serve as a coping mechanism when you’re dealing with highly stressful situations, but they aren’t just an escape. They also build resilience by nourishing self-motivation and perseverance. It’s not uncommon for gamers to persist at games or levels that are incredibly challenging, forcing them to accept repeated failures and to keep trying. This cultivates essential skills and a mindset that allows us to face challenges in life and at the workplace, from quitting smoking to delivering on high-pressure demands.

While there are many ways in which online games improve mental health, it’s important to use them in a way that does so. To maintain balance and avoid potential pitfalls or addictive behaviours associated with gaming, try to engage in a variety of games always set well-defined time limits and stick with them. As far as possible, participate in multiplayer online gaming that allows you to also socialize and connect with friends to maximize the potential mental health benefits of gaming.

Please note that excessive online gaming engagement harms Mental and Physical Health. Children and Adolescents require supervision in such cases. Play and choose online games wisely.

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