Playing video games can be good for your health

Worldwide, we spend 1.75 billion minutes a day playing Candy Crash. There must be something better to do with that time, right? That may be so, but as with anything in life, it’s really a matter of perception. When people play games, game designer Jane McGonigal says, they are “wholeheartedly engaged in creative challenges.” Gaming, science has now shown, is the neurological opposite of depression. Brain scans show the most active parts of the brain are the rewards pathway system, associated with motivation and goal orientation, and the hippocampus, associated with learning and memory. These are the two main parts of the brain that don’t activate when people are suffering from depression. When we play video games, McGonigal argues, we have a “real sense of optimism in our abilities and our opportunities to get better and succeed, and more physical and mental energy to engage with difficult problems.”

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Playing video games can be good for your health

Worldwide, we spend 1.75 billion minutes a day playing Candy Crash. There must be something better to do with that time, right? That may be so, but as with anything in life, it’s really a matter of perception. When people play games, game designer Jane McGonigal says, they are “wholeheartedly engaged in creative challenges.” Gaming, science has now shown, is the neurological opposite of depression. Brain scans show the most active parts of the brain are the rewards pathway system, associated with motivation and goal orientation, and the hippocampus, associated with learning and memory. These are the two main parts of the brain that don’t activate when people are suffering from depression. When we play video games, McGonigal argues, we have a “real sense of optimism in our abilities and our opportunities to get better and succeed, and more physical and mental energy to engage with difficult problems.”

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