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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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    Published on November 14, 2018

    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

    With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

    For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

    In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

    Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

    Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

    It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

    For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

    Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

    Symptoms of Fatigue

    Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

    • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
    • mental blocks
    • lack of motivation
    • headache
    • dizziness
    • muscle weakness
    • slowed reflexes and responses
    • impaired decision-making and judgement
    • moodiness, such as irritability
    • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
    • reduced immune system function
    • blurry vision
    • short-term memory problems
    • poor concentration
    • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

    Causes of Fatigue

    The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

    • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
    • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
    • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
    • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

    Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

    Medical Causes of Fatigue

    If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

    Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

    Anemia

    Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

    Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

    There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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    This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

    Diabetes

    Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

    Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

    Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

    Thyroid disease

    An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

    Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

    • Lack of sleep
    • Too much sleep 
    • Alcohol and drugs 
    • Sleep disturbances 
    • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
    • Poor diet 

    Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

    • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
    • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
    • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
    • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

    Psychological Causes of Fatigue

    Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

    • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
    • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
    • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

    How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

    Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

    1. Tell The Truth

    Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

    To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

    Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

    The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

    One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

    • How you feel
    • What time of day it is
    • What may have contributed to your fatigue
    • How your mind and body reacts

    This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

    2. Reduce Your Commitments

    When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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    If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

    When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

    Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

    3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

    If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

    Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

    If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

    Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

    Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

    4. Express More Gratitude

    Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

    It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

    Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

    5. Focus On Yourself

    Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

    There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

    But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

    We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

    6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

    Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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    Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

    The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

    Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

    7. Take a Power Nap

    When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

    Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

    This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

    8. Take More Exercise

    The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

    Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

    The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

    You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

    9. Get More Quality Sleep

    To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

    Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

    My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

    10. Improve Your Diet

    Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

    Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

    On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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    To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

    Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

    Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

    11. Manage Your Stress Levels

    Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

    When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

    Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

    My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

    12. Get Hydrated

    Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

    Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

    If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

    The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

    The Bottom Line

    These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

    If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

    Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
    [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
    [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
    [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
    [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
    [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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