So for those who don’t know I am a gamer. I love video games! I have a custom built computer that I built myself about 8 years ago, and I spend a few hours a day most days playing video games. Why? I like it! There is nothing wrong with doing something you enjoy. I have a small group I’ve been playing with some for up to 8 years, and I talk to them everyday. They know me somewhat better than others. I’ve met a few in person and want to meet even more of them.
Another great thing is it relieves stress. If I’ve had a bad day the best thing for me to do is to hop on, play a few video games be it calmly harvesting in Stardew Valley or shooting people in Rainbow 6 Siege. I find it pulls my mind away from chaotic things and can be somewhat of a minor distraction. Enough to give me a clear head so that when I do dive back into a project or a stressful situation I’m almost coming in refreshed. I’m in a place where my brain hasn’t thought about that for the last hour or two so now I can actually sit down and reengage myself and perhaps even take on a new approach.
Video games also improve reaction time, and in fact many of what some might consider “time wasting hobbies” have been found to have positive impacts on folks. The University of Leicester as well as many other institutions have studied time and time again to show that even without video game experience playing for a bit improves the reaction time of those playing. Action games in specific have been showing to stimulate your brain and improve cognitive processing. As someone who suffers from depression I find that I can become quite apathetic if I let myself. This impairs my reaction time and my brains ability to process a situation quickly. Playing these games honestly has had a huge impact on my awareness. I take time off from them every once in a while a week here or there just to vacation or get things done. I have found myself during that time so slowly deteriorate and fall into that apathy. My driving becomes more aggressive and less thought out. I find myself at a left hand turn making a risky fast turn nearly cutting someone off and causing an accident. Versus when I’m regularly gaming I could pull up to the same situation, but before my brain would say ‘you could probably make it,’ it’s saying ‘you could probably make it, but if you don’t you could injure yourself and other’s and it’s not worth the risk just wait.’ It’s insane to me to see the difference, but I’ve lived it!
Another thing I love doing is painting and drawing. Both have become a huge way for me to express my emotions. Sometimes I get anxious or depressed and I just don’t know why. If I sit down and just color, draw or paint things I find myself using colors and even imagery that often helps me translate things. It really allows me to sit back and review the piece and question what emotion would cause me to create it. This has been a wonderful tool for me in helping to get a handle on my emotional state. If you’re someone who is artistic and suffers from these things I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not give it a try! It truly might help you. This exercise was recommended to me by my therapist actually because I am a controlling person and find myself often quite frustrated when I cannot get a handle on my emotional state.
Truthfully though take time, do what you love and don’t let anyone judge you for it. Whether it’s traveling, writing, reading or anything else; most extracurricular activities have a positive benefit even if it’s something as simple as bringing us joy or relieving stress.