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What are the benefits of play & playing?

Updated: Apr 30

On a neurological level, playing games for fun can do a lot more than keep us entertained.

In the present, they can raise our emotions, reduce our boredom, and even foster more positive relationships with fellow players.

Over time, they can also support our brain health.

What benefits can be experienced from playing games?

According to Jane McGonigal, Game Designer, there’s a direct correlation between play and offsetting depression. In both circumstances, the same regions of the brain are affected: in play, these areas are hyperactivated and stimulated, while in depression, they are under stimulated.

Benefits from playing games include:

  • Heightened focus and concentration

  • Increased levels of learning

  • Induced feelings of happiness and excitement

  • Improved motivation levels

  • Reduced effects from depression

How to experience the benefits of play and playing games for fun...

For many of us, we associate play with childhood. Often, it takes having a family, or being around children, to rediscover the benefits of play. However, gaming and playing for fun are brilliant ways to improve brain health, reduce the effects of depression, and keep us feeling happy too.

Here are a few ideas of how you could experience play and make it a fun activity to enjoy more regularly:

  • Download games onto your phone or tablet

  • Search for a local games group to join

  • Invite your friends to a bingo night

  • Invest in a games console or a game suited to you

It’s also important to recognise that the gaming is for fun - it’s not an exercise or task to be completed. Give yourself permission to enjoy gaming, and find joy when playing, especially if playing with friends or family.


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