Finding ways to work on and improve your relationship can be tough. Getting a grumpy partner to actively participate in relationship building exercises isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world. Don’t despair. There are subtler ways to get hands-on with your partner without them even knowing.
You’ve probably noticed the world is filling up with screens. And on those screens are a lot of games. Did you know that games offer many benefits that can help boost the health of a relationship?
Remember when your mother made pizza and snuck in your veggies underneath that delicious melted cheese? Well, games are like that. Beneath their scrumptious outer coverings, games hide a wealth of healthy interactions that can be used to better social connections.
If your relationship is experiencing trouble due to bad moods or stress, games can help. Bejeweled 2®, Peggle® and Bookworm® Adventures were used in a study for depression at ECU.
A study performed in 2011 at East Carolina University revealed how regular casual gaming reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety by 57%. Dr. Carmen Russoniello, Director of the Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic, explained “the results of this study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on the moods and anxiety levels of people suffering from any level of depression”.
Perhaps your relationship could be improved with a little more trust. Games can help establish a person’s credibility as well as create shared experiences. Cooperation, in games, can create shared trials and victories.
“There is a lot of interesting research that shows that we like people better after we play a game with them, even if they’ve beaten us badly. And the reason is, it takes a lot of trust to play a game with someone. We trust that they will spend their time with us, that they will play by the same rules, value the same goal, they’ll stay with the game until it’s over. And so, playing a game together actually builds up bonds and trust and cooperation.” – Jane McGonial
The task and challenges presented in video games provide more opportunities for achievement. The satisfaction relating to these accomplishments translates to real-life benefits.
McGill University researchers from the Department of Psychology tested games they designed to improve self-esteem. They indicate that even games not created for this purpose can still be of benefit. Games that teach players a new skill, and then provide a world for the skill to be exercised, can grow self-confidence.
Remember that not all games help. If a games brings you down, it’s best to try another one. Jane McGonigal, Director of Game Research & Development at Institute for the Future, explains that games that cause anxiety can lead to increased aggression.
That being said, playing games with your partner is a wonderfully simple way to bring more happiness into your routine, build trust, strengthen bonds and provide avenues for self-expression.