Online gaming is an industry that is growing from strength to strength. While logging on to play your favorite title is undoubtedly fun, there is also now significant scientific evidence to prove that regularly playing certain video games can actually make you smarter, healthier and happier. From helping to maintain cognitive function and improving memory to releasing important feel-good chemicals, playing your favorite game — whether it’s racing, action or playing free slots at House of Fun — could be significantly improving your mood. This is because playing video games prompts our body to release a combination of happiness boosting chemicals and hormones — here’s how they work.
When you’re enjoying a good game — whether that’s your favorite mobile app, video or even a board game — the body responds to the positive experience by releasing endorphins. These are commonly referred to as a ‘natural high’ as they create feelings of wellbeing and happiness. The challenges posed by gaming go hand in hand with the release of endorphins into the body. Just like they are released after a good exercise session, you can often feel endorphins after overcoming moments of tension or strife. For example, defeating the enemy in a combat game or winning that all important race can see you spending the rest of your day on cloud nine thanks to that lovely injection of endorphin hormones.
The release of Oxytocin has a calming effect on the body, leaving you feeling peaceful. It’s also widely referred to as the love drug as it’s associated with social situations and developing bonds with other people. Aside from these situations, scientists have found that oxytocin is also commonly released during certain types of video game play, particularly those which require cooperation and communication with others. After enjoying these games, studies have shown gamers to be less aggressive and more generous thanks to the release of Oxytocin.
Dopamine is commonly associated with video gaming as it provides the player with a quick-hit of feel good hormones. Dopamine is what spurs on a gamer’s reward-motivated behavior. It is released on the completion of challenges or any time the player feels a sense of accomplishment. Emotions widely associated with dopamine production are bliss and euphoria. It’s even thought to aid concentration as it encourages people to take action towards their goals and provides encouragement to reach them.
This incredibly complicated chemical contributes to the happiness of people by regulating our brain and bodily functions. The neurotransmitter (meaning it sends messages between our nerve cells) is often referred to as the ‘happy chemical’ as it helps to regulate mood and social behavior — amongst a host of other things including appetite, digestion, sleep patterns and memory. Serotonin helps our bodies to feel the positive hits from hormones like Dopamine and Oxytocin as it transmits these feelings through the nervous system. Playing video games is believed to help activate this pleasure circuit.
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