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10 Ways Video Games Can Improve Your Life

10 Ways Video Games Can Improve Your Life

There is a long-standing and completely erroneous image of video games as time-wasters that hurt players. The media has sparked part of this belief by attempting to tie violence and other social ills to an interest in gaming. However, there is no solid evidence to back up this misconception. Instead, there are actually many ways that playing video games can actually improve your life.

1. They Can Inspire Your Career

Some of the most talented gamers go on to design video games or play them professionally. Both of these can be lucrative career choices that enable people to make a living by doing something they love while bringing joy to others. There are also many games that can spark an interest in a new industry or even be used as an educational tool. For example, using Minecraft to teach architecture is a good way to get students to think outside the box and enhance their collaboration skills.

2. They Actually Reduce Crime Levels

For years, reactionary individuals have called for an end to video games, especially those that contain imagery of violence and law-breaking activities. They were probably shocked when researchers announced that there’s actually a connection between playing video games and a reduction in crime. A team from the University of Texas discovered that every 10 percent increase in the sales of violent video games was followed by a 1 percent decrease in crime. These results weren’t just found in just one area, either, and they have been confirmed by a different study too.

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3. They Reduce Violent Behavior

A reduction in crime in general, is great, but what about violence? After all, that’s the main issue that people bring up in relation to video games. The good news is that research has proven yet again that video games do not increase violent behavior or violent crimes. On the contrary, every single time a hugely popular violent video game is released, the rate of homicide declines. There are many theories about this effect, but what really matters is that video games have been proven to lead to fewer crimes and violence.

4. They Can Make You Less Stressed

Video games, particularly of the violent variety, can actually give you better coping skills for stressful situations. According to a study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M International University, individuals who play violent video games handle bouts of long-term stress better than their non-game playing peers. Additionally, the gamers in this study became less hostile after being given a stressful task to complete. This led the research team to conclude that playing violent video games provides a boost for mood management.

5. They Can Help You Socialize

Introverts have an especially difficult time socializing, and people with certain medical conditions such as autism are also less likely to feel comfortable spending an extended amount of time in public. Games such as ‘Pokémon Go’ are helping these individuals break through their social barriers, though, which showcases the positive benefits of getting involved in this type of activity. Gamers who prefer to stick to a home console often enter multiplayer environments with other players, and this offers another opportunity to socialize in a comfortable setting.

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6. They Make it Easier to Get in Shape

‘Pokémon Go’ has been highlighting the exercise potential of video games, including the story of a player who walked 95 miles and lost 10 pounds during a two-week time frame. There are also several video games that were created with the express purpose of helping people get in shape, including Wii Active, along with a long list of dancing titles that reward players for spending a large amount of time perfecting difficult and fast-paced dance moves.

7. They Can Boost Your Cognitive Function

If anyone has ever told you that playing video games will make you less intelligent or is a sign of mental laziness, you can now educate them about the facts. The American Psychological Association has indicated that video games of all types can strengthen a long list of cognitive skills, including memory, reasoning, spatial reasoning and perception. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this particular study is that they also discovered that playing violent shooter games offers the most cognitive benefits.

8. They Ward off Anxiety

Another major revelation from the American Psychological Association is that playing simplistic games such as “Angry Birds” makes people feel less anxious. These individuals also tend to be more relaxed and experience a mood improvement while playing one of these games, and these benefits can extend into the rest of their day. In other words, the next time you’re feeling really anxious about something, try pulling out your smartphone and playing a level or two on one of your favorite games.

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9. They Lead to Faster Decision Making

Video game environments typically provide players with almost constant choices to make, and this requires the ability to make fast decisions. As a result, gamers often develop a 25 percent increase in their ability to respond to questions and offer details about something they have just witnessed. Therefore, if you often have issues with making quick decisions, you may want to add video games to your regular routine.

10. They Can Make Your Vision Better

Some parents discourage their kids from playing video games because they believe it will damage their eyes. The Visual Development Lab of Ontario’s research indicates that this quite simply isn’t factual. Instead, people who play video games, especially first-person shooters, can experience improvements in their vision. This was especially noticeable with cataract patients who were able to begin seeing things more sharply as a result of playing video games.

Now that science has proven that video games can help you with everything from stress to your vision, it’s time to start playing them without feeling guilty. If you are big gaming enthusiast, you may even want to consider the top eight careers in this field.

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Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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