Health Benefits of Playing Board Games
I think we can all agree that playing board games is fun, plain and simple, but are there more benefits than just entertainment? Yes indeed! Here are the top 4 mental health benefits of being a board gamer.
- Release of Endorphins – First and foremost, playing board games is fun! When we laugh and have fun endorphins are secreted within our brain and nervous system. Endorphins are responsible for our feelings of pleasure (just one of their functions) and by releasing them into our body through the joy of playing, our body will be chemically altered to feel happier. What better mental health benefit is there than happiness?
- Quality Family Time – Who can honestly say that they have ample quality family time? By quality time I mean that there are no phones, iPads or outside distractions. I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say that between work, school, nursery, clubs and house work there’s isn’t a whole heap of time left for just sitting down as family and enjoying each other’s company without distractions creeping in.
That’s why sitting down to a board game can be the perfect solution. There are so many games available to choose from, starting with basic kids’ games all the way up complex games with 30 page rule books. Find a few games that work for you and your family, because by taking an hour out to play together, even if it’s only once a week will create a much stronger family bond.
Why is that important? Because if you can cultivate a stronger, healthier and more solid bond between parent and child, and between siblings, then you’ll have created feelings of security, trust and acceptance. In this day and age where mental health problem are becoming increasingly common within young children, that foundation of belonging and having people they feel they can rely on is of paramount importance.
From a mental health standpoint this one could be the most important.
- Memory & Cognitive Ability – I think it’s safe to say that we’d all like to improve our memory. Almost all board games require the use of cognitive functions such as memory, problem-solving and planning ahead, with some games obviously requiring much more than others.
Think of these brain functions like one of the muscles in your body muscles. For example, to strengthen the muscles in your arms you’d do a work-out that targets those muscles. Well, the brain is the same. If you perform a mental work-out on your memory than gradually your memory will improve, just as your strength in your arm would gradually improve.
This is particularly important with young children. Enhancing their problem-solving ability and other cognitive functions at a young age will set them up spectacularly for the future. After all, isn’t everyday life largely about problem-solving?
- Lowers Blood Pressure – Now this point is linked to #No. 1. The endorphins that are released when you’re enjoying a board game with friends or family can do more than just make you feel happy. Studies have shown that endorphins can actually help to lower your blood pressure. This is incredible news for anyone who already has a love of board games but suffers from stress in their daily lives. Lowering your blood pressure can make a tremendous difference to your overall health and long-term wellbeing.