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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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