Stress, Health, and Video Games

Ramblings

Well, it is Sunday here in the United States, and I have another analytical article for you guys. I say analytical , because these are based heavily in my analysis or the analysis of a group which I then in turn analyze in further depth. Some of you may find them interesting, while others of you don’t really care. Either way, everything you are about to read is based on analysis, true stories, and a bit of fact.

This article is an abridged version of a psychology paper I did for my college class. I got 30 out of 33 possible points because I messed up on the format of my paper (can you believe that he actually took a ruler and docked me points just because my border wasn’t 1 inch by 1 inch?). Enjoy the part that focuses on video games to reduce stress.

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Stress, Health, and Video Games

Stress is the term used to describe the physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses to events that are appraised as threatening or challenging. Many people become stressed when they are faced with a problem that they must overcome. Every stress that we face requires a fight or flight path. We can either stand and fight or run and take flight. These choices are based solely on a human desire to survive. The survival tactic is written into our DNA and was mostly prevalent during the times that our life was in constant danger from enemies or other dangers. The problem these days stands on the fact that danger is all around us and we can neither fight it nor flee from it. Since danger is always abundant, even if we don’t notice it, our body is in a constant stressful state. Our bodies interpret our reactions to certain challenges as stressful and flings us into a state of fight or flight, but in our society we are usually unable to do either. The buildup of adrenaline from the fight or flight state is meant to keep us alive, but when we do not use the adrenaline it festers and can be unleashed by accident at inappropriate times which will create even more problems.

The problem lies when we are unable to vent the access adrenaline, this creates health problems that can lead to problems in the future such as a weakened immune system, ulcers, or even cancer*. There are many ways to vent the adrenaline and video games are one of them. Video games have gotten a bad reputation over the years by parents and media who can only see the bad aspects of video games, but video games can actually increase our health and well being with moderate use. If used properly video games can help reduce the stress in our life by three main uses. The first use is by venting our frustrations into the game, the AI within a game can not feel pain and can be killed and yelled at as desired. This use has to be guarded; however, because we must keep in mind at all times that the game isn’t real. Some people seem to be unable to tell the difference between a video game and reality and merge the two together, but that is a totally different topic of discussion. The second use is by temporarily escaping reality. Many people already do this by reading a book, but we can also succeed in escaping all the agonies within life by playing video games, envelop yourself in the game and give your body time to calm down and function properly. By giving your body this time to cool down, it will be healthier in the long run.  Remember that escaping reality is only temporary and a firm enough grasp on reality must be maintained in order to return. This is also known as meditating to many cultures, video games are just an extremely good median. The final use is nullification. When you play video games your body creates a different kind of stress that is extremely small. The stress caused by video games can act like a vaccination towards stress of that type. A good example of this is Xbox Live, the kids yelling and screaming at you through their microphones creates a slight stress that you may not even notice. The small amount of stress caused by their yelling will actually reduce the amount of stress you receive when being yelled at in the future.

Don’t be mistaken though, too much gaming is extremely unhealthy. The key to gaming is moderation. Gaming is fun and relaxing but there are other functions of life that must be sought after as well. Don’t let physical health deteriorate, exercise. Exercising doesn’t have to be running every morning and lifting weights, the most basic way to stay physically healthy is by weighing yourself on a weekly basis. If the weight changes one week exercise a bit more to balance it out. Both the reduction of weight and the increase in weight are bad to certain aspects. Working out a lot will indeed increase your weight as muscle mass weighs more than body fat, but if you are not working out a lot then an increase in weight would mean fat is beginning to build up and you should work out more to burn it off. A decrease in weight is also bad. A decrease in weight could mean one of two things, either  muscle mass is being lost or the body is deteriorating, both can be fixed by exercising. Don’t forget to eat healthy as well; don’t eat junk food as you play video games.  Personally I am not very active, but I don’t eat fattening food either. I usually have a tall glass of grapefruit juice next to me and a cup of oats for a snack while gaming. Finally stay social, online gaming has made this extremely easy to do while gaming but you should still socialize outside of the video game every once in a while. Humans are very social creatures and it is healthy to socialize face to face every once in a while.

*I explained the reasons behind the problems in more depth in my entire paper, but the paper was about 10,000 words long, and I have only pulled out the video game oriented sections in order to cut the entire article down to under 1000 words.
  • frankcastle66

    sometimes i get really angry playing certain games but i have ways of venting it

  • and, that is much better then getting angry at your boss.

  • haha i hope that wasnt pointed toward me 😉 hahaha

    Fantastic article i quite enjoyed it.. Remember that patience is the key to success in video games. If you fail pick yourself up and try again .. don’t throw the controller because if you do the machine wins. You lose both mentally, emotionally and financially as you’re the ony thats gonna have to go out and buy yourself a new controller 😉

    Just keep focused learn from your mistakes and overcome the challenge in front of you. Just like in life there are hurdles that need to be overcome, and with the right mindset and discipline nothing is impossible.

    Video games are meant to be enjoyed not stressed over. When we sit down to play them its meant to be a time of relaxation and release from the STRESS of the outside world. If you STREES even while playing then whats the point in even turning on the machine in the first place.

    As a wise Monk once said. Fine Peace within your soul, let your mind go, focus on the task at hand and release your inner power and nothing will be able to stop you

    That wise monk was MasterAbboot 😉

  • Pingback: Video Games are meant to be Enjoyed not STRESSED OVER !!()

  • That was a damn good read. I wouldn’t mind seeing the rest. The only game I really get frustrated at would probably be Call of Duty W@W.. I don’t know why, I did amazingly every time I played it but for some reason going 30-5 wasn’t good enough.. One of my XBL friends broke his controller from that game haha.

  • skull_x_man

    Oooh…there are so many times i got angry at games, and bcuz im an achievement h**, most of the times were when i was huntin some achievements. and on Halo.. I remember when RB fell out when tryin to do a challenge on batman…aaaand after that i threw my controller and most of the buttons popped.
    Gettin angry at games is like love, you know? You do something on instinct and regret it later. Lol…

    So next time your havin a fight with your girlfriend, dont play videogames :))

  • Andrenekoi

    I get angry sometimes too, one example is when losing an online SFIV fight and seeing what i did wrong, but later that becomes some kind of experience, so it’s not really frustrating, it’s just some seconds of being irritated.

    Some old school games were a lot more frustrating than the one released today.

    Talking about health, i think moderation is a necessity for everythings, at least a balance, living for just one thing is not the right way in my opinion.

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