Gaming usually gets a bad rap as it is often considered a waste of time and something that affects our mental health negatively. But did you know that there are numerous mental health benefits of playing games such as solitaire as well? If you didn’t, then keep reading because, in this post, we shall discuss some of the mental health benefits of playing solitaire so that you don’t have to feel guilty whenever you play – with moderation, of course.
As I mentioned in a previous post on the various ways to unwind after a stressful day, I have been playing online games more frequently lately because I realized that they always lift my mood when I’m feeling down. So, while feeling nostalgic recently, I decided to look up some of the games I used to play when I was younger because they remind me of happier times.
One of the best sites I discovered during my search for free online gaming platforms is Solitaire.org. At first, I thought the site would only have games, such as Spider Solitaire and FreeCell, but then I found others that I enjoy, including Mahjong games, Word games, Logic Puzzles, and Hidden Object games. After playing several of the games on this website, I want to share with you some of the mental health benefits of playing solitaire I have experienced so far. Let’s dive in…
Mental Health Benefits of Playing Solitaire
- Stress relief
Unlike what many people assume, gaming is not a waste of time. In fact, it is one of the best ways to spend your time, especially if you are stressed or when you need some alone time. As mentioned earlier, one of the mental health benefits of playing solitaire is that it helps you unwind and de-stress when you are having a bad day. For instance, playing solitaire could distract you from the negative thoughts about whatever is making you feel stressed for a while. And even though solitaire is a game, it helps with calming your mind by giving you something to focus on that doesn’t require heavy thinking. Additionally, since most people started playing solitaire when they were younger, they, like me, associate it with happier times, and thus, it is a mood booster for them.
- Playing solitaire builds your resilience
If you know anything about gaming, you know that most times, it doesn’t take only one try to learn and become a pro at a particular game. Even games that seem easy, such as solitaire, require you to have patience and become resilient because you are most likely going to fail several times when you are a newbie, or depending on the level of hardship of the game you are playing. Learning how to cope with failure and losses is among the mental health benefits of playing solitaire. You know that to win a game, you will probably need to play several times, try different strategies, and not give up – just like you should do in your real life when you encounter challenges.
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- Reduces boredom
If there was ever a good way to avoid boredom while at home alone, playing games such as solitaire would be it. You most likely know the old saying, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop; and many people do end up doing bad things because they are bored. Others entertain negative thoughts when bored, and hence, finding something to do in order to stay busy and engaged can help you prevent or redirect such thought patterns. This is why reduced boredom is one of the mental health benefits of playing solitaire. The game will keep you busy and is a great way to have fun when you are by yourself. Playing solitaire entertains you and keeps your senses engaged, and without knowing it, it is already 2 hours later, and you are no longer bored.
- Improves memory
While you may think of solitaire as just another fun way to pass the time, studies indicate that gamers could learn, process, store and recall information better than non-gamers. Improved short-term and long-term memory is among the psychological benefits of playing solitaire. This is because when playing solitaire, you often have to remember the sequence of cards and the strategies to use in order to win a game. Therefore, if you play solitaire regularly, you could perform better at school due to improved memory, and it will also keep your brain young even as you grow older.
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- Mental skills development
You develop many mental skills while playing solitaire. Concentration, strategizing, logical thinking, goal setting, and decision-making skills are only a few of the psychological benefits of playing solitaire. Before moving any cards, you have to focus, calculate the risks involved, and how that particular move will help you achieve your end goal. Playing solitaire is a good way to exercise your brain because it challenges you to think of various ways to achieve your desired result. If playing by yourself, solitaire also fosters a competitive spirit as you try to surpass your own high scores and time spent on a game.
- Solitaire helps you cope with loneliness
Similar to reducing boredom, another of the mental health benefits of playing solitaire is that it helps you cope with loneliness. While playing solitaire, you can be alone without feeling lonely because you have something to keep you engaged. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, many people have experienced loneliness and isolation due to restrictions on travel and socializing. And even though restrictions have been lifted in most places and many people have been vaccinated, you probably still don’t feel comfortable going back to normal yet and usually get anxious about going out. Whether you are alone by choice or are forced by circumstances, playing online games, such as solitaire, can help you not feel lonely because they entertain you and the soothing background music keeps you company.
Solitaire.org is one of the best things I have discovered in 2022 thus far. If you want to enjoy any of the mental health benefits of playing solitaire discussed above as well, visit this free online gaming platform, and try the various games out too. Keep in mind that gaming is not only for kids and avid gamers. We can all benefit from playing games, not only to pass the time but as a way to improve our mental health. Why not start reaping these mental health benefits by playing an easy game, such as solitaire?
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