Playing is one of the essential part of life we often undervalue. Because we are taught the value of work so early, we often reach adulthood with plenty of ambition but not necessarily a good outlet for play. Compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, this makes us weird, not least because we seem to have developed a taste for watching other people have fun, rather than having fun ourselves!
Of course, if you love to play video games, you’ll probably already know how satisfying it can be to play. But you might not realize that playing can actually be good for you.
Build Your Social Skills
One of the main reasons that we enjoy games is that they are safe spaces to build social skills and learn from others. Poker is a great example of this as the cards are really more about facilitating the social dynamics of bluffing than anything else. This is why to be the best at gambling you have to have much more than the right cards and a good idea of probability!
Many games are also perfect for building social bonds. For example, team games work well because they encourage you to support each other and get behind the same goals and challenges. Working together is one of the most important skills we learn as kids and it’s something we should continue throughout life too.
Find An Outlet for Healthy Competition
Another good reason to play is that it lets us experience competition without any real consequences. In other words, we have a chance to learn life skills without worrying about the consequences in case we fail. So, instead of getting into a fistfight, we like playing games where avatars do the fighting for us.
Like all animals, humans are obsessed with learning (even if you don’t realize it). This is why we seek new experiences! Interestingly, even games that won’t let us win draw our interest because we are determined to see what happens. This is why games that frustrate us can be so enjoyable – we get into the intrinsic motivation of completing the game against the odds.
Explore Deeper Emotions Safely
Finally, games give us a way to express ourselves within safe bounds. Just as reading about characters offers us an insight into how other people think, acting with particular motives can have a big impact on how you deal with your emotions and empathize with others.
Indeed, video games are evolving to deal with particular emotions. For example, That Dragon, Cancer was developed in order to guide people through grief. It’s a game that cannot be won and is genuinely difficult to play but the emotional roller coaster is still incredibly valuable.
Though playing is often considered a waste of time, the truth is that we are made to play – we all are! Playing is fun, it’s satisfying and it’s educational. So, instead of crashing out in front of the TV, maybe you might consider playing a video game better yet go out and play with some real people!