Play is an essential part of everyone’s life and is necessary for a healthy mind and body. Though you may feel like spending 30 minutes of creating a Minecraft fortress is a waste of time, numerous studies and researchers have shown otherwise (1). In a general sense, playing video games (in moderation) has been shown to help with executive functioning, creativity, and persistence (2).
Whether you enjoy Candy Crush or Tetris they can be a positive (with moderation). Each of these specific games has been shown to assist with various aspects of our mental health. For example playing Tetris following exposure to a traumatic event can disrupt the steps that would take place to file a traumatic memory into long-term memory, decreasing the long-term effects and potential for intrusive memories. It’s also been found that playing World of Warcraft assist individuals experiencing Autism Spectrum Disorders in building emotional comprehension (3).
Check out the video featuring Jane McGonigal below for more information on how all of this works.