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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

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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