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12 Positives Only Gamers Would Understand

12 Positives Only Gamers Would Understand

Games are one of the world’s most popular and pleasurable pastimes, and barely a month goes by without the Internet going into a meltdown over the next future of gaming. Sadly, however, video games have also got an unfairly negative reputation in recent years, having been tenuously linked to acts of violence, and an ever-more-visible collection of violent video games.

Despite this, there are plenty of reasons the gamers’ pastime is full of positives, and there are plenty of gaming benefits. In an effort to turn the tide a little bit and help keep you informed on the benefits available to you with a games console, here are 12 positives that gamers will truly understand:

1. They relax you and keep you happy.

This first one’s a bit of a doozy, really, but it turns out that video games can be one hell of a relaxant. Playing video games have been shown to release endorphins into the bloodstream, helping you feel happy and relaxed, particularly if you’re playing something nice and not too scary. So, next time you’re caught playing Monument Valley on your phone, or Little Big Planet on your console, just remember that these games are giving you a little boost and are psychologically aiding you.

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2. They help you channel aggression safely.

Video games might be getting more and more ‘violent’ these days, but it turns out that beating a virtual character to a bloody pulp can actually have a beneficial effect. Studies have shown that aggression levels were actually lowered following a session playing games, as long as the gaming session was not particularly long. So, if you’re feeling the need to blow off an angry day at work, consider turning to your games console. After all, taking it out on waves of monsters is much more sensible than taking it out on your co-workers.

3. They help improve your eyesight.

The jokes about looking too long at a screen turning your eyes square might not be 100% true, but one of the most unusual and yet infinitely more useful gaming benefits is the fact that playing games can help improve your eyesight. Research has found that certain video games, particularly ones that have rich, shadow-heavy environments such as action shooters and survival horror games, can help improve ‘contrast sensitivity’ in the eyes, which helps you see better in the dark. There you have it — video games are more scientifically proven to help your eyesight than carrots!

4. They build online friendships and communities.

One of the best gaming benefits out there is that with games such as MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), the players are interacting with other like-minded gamers across the world, forcing them to foster and build friendships and positive relationships. This can in turn help boost self-esteem, lower feelings of isolation and loneliness, and help them cultivate a truly global set of friends, the likes of which our ancestors couldn’t have dreamed of. Not bad, eh?

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    5. They enhance your teamwork skills.

    Teamwork is a shaky term at best when it comes to down the modern world of playing massive online tournaments and battles with people all across the globe. But it turns out that the games that work on the premise of teamwork can help foster real-world abilities and relationships. Working with people towards a common goal, particularly in the realm of battle or combat games, helps create strong bonds with people, and can make you more likely to build strong bonds with people outside of the world of video games. And they said they had no applications!

    6. They help improve your problem-solving skills.

    Anyone who’s played a complex puzzle-solving game can attest to the level of frustration that a particularly vexing problem can bring, but it turns out these moments help us deal with real-world problems by engaging the logic centers of the brain. Research has found that those who played more problem-solving games were quicker and more able to deal with finding a solution when presented with a real-life problem. Are video games an acceptable substitution for high school maths? No, but it was worth a shot anyway …

    7. They can help keep you fit and healthy.

    This almost goes without saying, but the physical activity-based games, such as those offered by the Wii, can help increase physical fitness and fight obesity and illness. Studies have shown that children who regularly played on consoles such as the Wii were less likely to be classed as overweight or obese, and had a generally higher level of physical fitness. However, you can be healthy at any size, and if a quick game of tennis or baseball on your games console helps you be healthy, there’s really no downside.

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    8. They give you better hand-eye coordination.

    This is one of the best gaming benefits out there with a real-world use; games help develop your hand-eye coordination and your spatial awareness. It seems simple when it comes to consoles such as the Wii (although learning by accidentally smashing your TV isn’t really the way to go about it!), but even games in which you’re using a handheld controller can be beneficial and help you increase your ability to judge speed and location. This is usually when someone in a game throws a Molotov cocktail at you, but it works either way.

    9. They help you make quicker decisions.

    Studies have found that playing fast-paced video games can actually give you some great real-world applications and gaming benefits, such as being quicker at making decisions. Gamers have been shown to improve their decision-making skills and speed by 25%, on average, when compared to their non-gamer equivalents. This is likely down to the immersive nature of games, which regularly force players into immediate action, honing their ability to quickly recognize a situation and react accordingly.

    10. They make you better at multitasking.

    Multitasking is one of those terms that gets bandied out too much and too often as something we should all aspire to be doing. However, while you’re probably worrying about balancing three tasks at once, research has shown that playing video games can help you in multitasking. This is thanks to games that force you to deal with situations all at once, making your mind grapple with multiple problems and tackle them in sequential order. In other words, dealing with a wave of enemies, a failing power situation, and the health of your team mates can actually make you better at switching tasks quickly and effectively in the real world. How’s that for applicable gaming benefits?

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    11. They can help unleash your creativity.

    Creativity is a rarely controllable trait and state of mind to be in, so anything that naturally enhances your sense of creativity has to be applauded. Turns out that video games help enhance creativity in a multitude of ways; everything from the controls to the color palette and the story can help awaken dormant ideas and thoughts and help spark new life into them. You can suddenly work out the fight sequence for your screenplay while kicking online ass, find that color you’ve been looking for in a game’s lush background, or even work out a melody for a new song thanks to the instrumentals playing. In other words, you’re welcome.

    12. They can help relieve physical pain.

    Last, but most certainly not least, video games have the amazing ability to help players alleviate physical pain. Several studies have found that patients in hospital wards with chronic illnesses, or undergoing therapy or treatment, found their symptoms allayed somewhat by playing on a video games console, which are commonplace in certain wards. This seems to be due to the deeply engrossing nature of the games, which helps take patients’ minds off their pain, as well as the endorphin rush from playing and succeeding at the games. This is one of the best gaming benefits we can imagine and, frankly, if anyone deserves to play games to their hearts’ content, it’s people stuck in hospitals.

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    Chris Haigh

    Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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    Last Updated on November 17, 2019

    20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

    20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

    Saying, “Thank you,” can be difficult to do. Some things just demand a little something extra because of the magnitude of the favor or the depth of appreciation involved. But what can you do to say thank you in a meaningful way? Sometimes you have to get a little more creative than just firing off an email. Here are 20 creative ways to say thank you that your friends and family will remember and cherish!

    1. Make a gift bag.

    A unique, homemade gift bag with a custom label or a note is a simple but heartfelt way to show your appreciation for the wonderful things your friends or family have done for you.

    2. Give a toast.

    Many people fear public speaking more than death, giving this particular thank-you a little extra meaning. Composing a sincere, eloquent toast and delivering it is a nice way to show appreciation that truly comes from the heart.

    3. Write a poem.

    “Roses are red, violets are blue…” Uh, you could write that...but why not put a little extra zing in it? Find out what their favorite kind of poetry is: haiku, free verse, iambic pentameter, and so on. (Google them if you don’t know what they are.) Then write one that expresses why they deserve your thanks…and why you’re glad to give it!

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    4. Create your own labels.

    There are a number of websites that offer custom gift labels. Find one that fits your personality and that of your friends and create a personalized thank-you label!

    5. Give a gift card.

    Sometimes choosing what to give a friend can be tough. A gift card is a good way to get around this problem. As always, be sure to include a personalized note or card thanking the recipient for their friendship and help.

    6. Send a letter.

    Snail-mail is a largely lost art form. Don’t worry about how long the letter is, though. What really matters here is that you took the time to put pen to paper and express your feelings sincerely and honestly!

    7. Use social media to send a special message.

    If someone’s done something you think the whole world should know about, why not put out a social media blast? Use your blog, your Facebook, your Google+ account, and your Twitter to spread the word about why this person’s someone your friends will want to know too!

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    8. Make your own digital greeting card.

    While an email isn’t always the best way to go when saying thank you, a digital greeting card that you put time and effort into creating can really brighten someone’s day! Make the card reflect the recipient’s personality and compose a short message of thanks for their generosity.

    9. Make a YouTube video.

    Sometimes, actually hearing someone say, “Thank you,” can make all the difference. Why not take it a step further and create a special video of thanks for your friends, family, and those special people who helped make your day so important…or who helped you through that rough time?

    10. Deliver cookies or candies.

    Making something yourself is a fun and delightful way to say thank you to someone. Create a sampling of baked goods or homemade candies and decorate them with a simple message, or make them so they form letters! (Think Valentine’s candies, only situationally appropriate.) Attach a thank-you note or label and surprise those special people with the gift of your time and creativity.

    11. Make surprise gifts for guests.

    There’s no need to wait until “later” to send a thank-you message. Why not do it at the time? Create little gift packets or bags for your guests with surprises inside. This is a great way to say thanks to the people who attended your event, and make sure they won’t want to miss the next one!

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    12. Put together a flower basket.

    Whether you prefer fresh or artificial flowers, assembling a flower basket with a thank-you note is an excellent way to brighten someone’s day and show you appreciate them.

    13. Take a picture.

    Sometimes capturing the moment is the best way to put a smile on someone’s face. Have someone take a picture of you receiving that special gift or opening that surprise package and send the giver a copy with a quick but sincere note to say thanks!

    14. Repay their generosity by paying it forward.

    The best gifts come from the heart, and the best way to repay a gift is to pay it forward. If your friend has a special cause they care about or something they believe in passionately, why not make a donation in their name or volunteer some of your time to the cause? This will mean more than any number of cookies, candies, or thank-you notes because you’re taking your friend’s love and spreading it around to others.

    15. Do something special for them.

    Take them out to dinner. (See “make a toast.”) Give them that movie they’ve been wanting forever. Cook them dinner and give them a present when they arrive. Any of these are good options for showing someone you really appreciate them and how grateful you are to have them in your life.

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    16. Reciprocate their help.

    Everyone needs help sometime. Whether it’s holding their hand through a particularly traumatic incident or helping them replace the alternator in their car, being there when they need it shows you remember what they did for you and how much it meant. It also shows that you’re willing to be just as good a friend to them as they were to you!

    17. Be there for them.

    Not every thank-you gesture has to be a grand public spectacle. Sometimes just giving them a place to come hang out when they’re lonely or showing up to offer them a sympathetic shoulder means the world to a person.

    18. Listen to them.

    Listening is almost as lost an art as the handwritten letter. When your friend or family member needs to talk, listen to them. Ask questions when appropriate, but just letting them know you’re there and paying attention to them to the exclusion of all else for a little while is a great way to say thank you for the times they listened to you.

    19. Say it in another language…or two…

    A simple thank you is great…but why not spice it up a little? Instead of just saying, “Thank you,” write or make a video of you telling them thank you in different languages. Some examples might be, “Gracias! Merci! Danke schoen! Spasibo! Mahalo!” and any other ways or languages you can think of. (The ones listed above are Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Hawaiian, in case you were wondering.) If you want to really get tricky about it, say a short phrase in each language that conveys why you’re thanking them!

    20. Show them some love.

    A simple touch, a hug, or helping out when they need it without being asked may be the most powerful gratitude message you can send. Offer to take the dogs for a walk, sit for the kids for a few hours, or run to the grocery store so they don’t have to. The little things are often the most important and meaningful. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still send a note, but sometimes your simple presence and willingness to help is all that really matters.

    Featured photo credit: Hanny Naibaho via unsplash.com

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