A Naturopath recently wrote about how video games helped a patient of hers with the anxiety of surgery.

Recently, I was emailed this article written by a Naturopathic Doctor talking about anxiety, and treating that anxiety with video games. As Dr. Walker talks about in the article, Feeling Anxious? Try Playing A Video Game, a lot of her patients, as well as my own patients, come in with fatigue, and complaints of anxiety. These patients are looking for alternatives to drugs, or the conventional treatment, that they are getting through their otherwise “primary care.” Often, I will start by looking at, and addressing, the adrenal glands. Our lifestyles are quite non-stop these days, and we often don’t take the time to care for ourselves. 

Dr. Walker’s article talks about how video games have been used to help support kids as they go into and out of surgery by helping them with anxiety in that context. From the article, “Research has shown that gameplay can help to interrupt the cycle of anxiety because it breaks the cycle of attention.” Dr. Walker used a video game with one of her patients who then reported better energy and less anxiety with just 20 minutes of video gameplay a day. So was it truly the video game that made the change, or was it the patient taking time to do something for herself? Maybe it was the combination of both.  

We, as modern day humans, want the quick fix. There seems to be the mentality of “I want more energy and less anxiety now, and I want you to give me a pill for it”. There is no one pill to fix it all, of course. When we get to the root cause of the disease we can support the body in both a physical way with supplementation, and in a mental/emotional way with lifestyle changes. The combination of these two allows us to maximize their benefits, and thus get a better outcome. 

Are there other ways that we can break the cycle of anxiety by breaking the cycle of attention? I often see what people post on social media sites, and wonder if they feel that they’re doing something for themselves, or relaxing, by paying so much attention to their “Timeline” and “Feed.” But I am not sure how relaxing these sites are. Often times we get wrapped up in other people’s issues, or get jealous of what they have, and what we don’t have. I would say that instead of being relaxed after using social media that we are, instead, often more anxious, or even worked up (this is why I’ve had several friends deactivate their Facebook accounts recently).

Playing video games, or games on our cell phones/tablets, may take our minds off of things, distract us, and otherwise bring down our level of anxiety, but I feel as though it is not necessarily getting to the root cause. As an immediate fix to an anxiety problem then it might work, but I think that long term we need to look at what is going on around us, around our family, and especially our children. If that means a little more video games, and a lot less social media then perhaps that is worth a try for some.

In fact, it might be worth trying to get back into something that you have not done for a while like gardening, reading, meditating, cooking, etc. to bring your anxiety down, and reduce the amount of distractions, like social media, that can stealthily bring your anxiety up. Take time for yourself. Try your best to learn how to express your need to do this to your significant other, or family. For me, relaxing on a Sunday pays the most dividends right now, and, yes, sometimes my husband and I play videogames together on that day. It helps some, and perhaps it is something people shouldn’t necessarily overlook, or dismiss.

Source: Huffington Post 

Image: Lars Frantzen (Wikipedia) (CC 3.0)