Video Games for Mindfulness?

There are a multitude of ways to meditate and/or practice mindfulness. I gave an overview of a bunch of them on my Patreon (shameless plug for my Patreon). However, it never occurred to me to include playing videos games. Apparently it did to Alyssa Celatti over at FandomSpot.com.

She looked at a few studies and found, “that eight out of 10 (79%) gamers state that gaming provides relaxation and stress relief, with well over half of c-suite executives taking daily gaming breaks and benefiting from meditation techniques and hits of dopamine.” With that in mind, they surveyed their online community asked them to “list the games that made them feel the most mindful and in a state of ‘flow’.”

For the physical element of the study, 100 participants from a range of backgrounds, locations, gender, sexual orientations and ages (ranging between 18 and 72) were asked to test the games that were mentioned most often during the survey.

Participants were asked to game in two-hour stints, alone, using whatever consoles and peripherals that they would usually use to game but with the addition of them wearing a simple heart rate monitor to ensure that it didn’t raise significantly to suggest stress or over-excitement. They were also asked to record via a questionnaire of how their mood shifted before, during and after gaming to highlight emotions, stress levels and how mindful they felt.

Obviously, this isn’t a definitive study, and I would also argue that what players are experiencing is relaxation, not necessarily a state of mindfulness. That said, let’s not undersell the importance of relaxation. Particularly in these ever more stress inducing times.

Ready for the top ten most “mindful” games from this study?

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2. Katamari Damacy
3. Tetris
4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
5. Minecraft
6. No Man’s Sky
7. Euro Truck Simulator
8. House Flipper
9. Firewatch
10. Flower

You can get all the details of the survey and scientific journals used here.

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