Most people’s daily lives are becoming increasingly busy and often isolated. With all of life’s obligations, people often forget to take time to enjoy themselves. A weekly game night with friends or family provides a scheduled time for a little fun. Maybe you once participated in a scheduled game night or are considering calling yours quits. However, it is worthwhile to make time in your chaotic schedule for play. If you need a little help planning, here’s a great first poker night resource. Read on for four evidence-based ways a weekly game night can be beneficial to you and your mental health.
1. Boost Your Mood
The goal of a game night should be to have fun, and having fun releases endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s feel good chemicals: a group of hormones with proven mood-boosting qualities. Endorphins promote feelings of well-being, reduce the perception of pain, and help alleviate stress. Additionally, laughter can lower cortisol levels in the body leading to less anxiety, reduced stress, and better sleep. Evidence shows that laughter really is the best medicine, and a game night with friends or family is a great way to add some laughter to your life.
2. Improve Relationships
It is easy for people to become isolated in today’s culture with their own interests and busyness. However, taking time each week to play games can help families or friends reconnect. Competitive games that require teamwork strengthen relationships and communication as individuals strategize. Non-competitive games are great to lighten the mood of stressful situations and reap the previously mentioned benefits of fun and laughter.
Additionally, game play creates conversation. This can be especially helpful for communicating with a difficult teenager or in another strained relationship. Research even shows that 96% of families who play games feel closer. Lastly, the benefits of game night go beyond quality time with loved ones. Time spent together actually strengthens relationships at a biochemical level by releasing oxytocin, a hormone that creates feelings of intimacy and trust.
3. Stimulate the Mind
Playing games can benefit players of any age by stimulating their brains. Games reduce the stress of learning for children by giving them a fun and safe place to ask questions. Children learn strategies, boost their creativity, and think critically through game play. For any age, trivia games allow groups to learn new facts together, while strategy games push players to think through different challenges. Other challenging games like chess or puzzles can improve memory function and overall brain health. These benefits are especially helpful for older adults or those who suffer from memory loss. Overall, people of all ages often learn best by playing: tasks and ideas are easier to learn while in a relaxed mood.
4. Strengthen Life Skills
Through games, players learn important life skills. While these skills are especially important for children to learn, adults, too, can benefit from strengthening their “skills.” Games teach players to:
Learn from their mistakes
Regular game nights provide children and other players a chance to practice these skills. Additionally, games teach good sportsmanship: children (and adults!) learn to win fairly (no cheating!) and humbly and to lose without complaint.
Make Time in Your Weekly Schedule for a Game Night
No matter what your game night looks like (big or small, in person or virtual), it can be a great way to break up your hectic week. Game nights serve as an outlet for highly competitive folks or a chance to socialize for those simply seeking fun. Overall, a scheduled game night provides an enjoyable and inexpensive way to lower stress, reconnect, boost brain function and strengthen valuable skills.