Top 3 Games That Help Curb Non-seasonal Depression

With the pandemic, general stress from day-to-day life and finals coming up once again in a little over a month, students have been experiencing some burnout, and with burnout there often comes depression. It sucks heavily especially if you’re not used to dealing with the symptoms of the disorder. The constant heavy, tired and aggressive moods mixed with the physical aspects can weigh heavily on you and make you feel even worse. 

But luckily there are some solutions for these symptoms that aren’t just medication. While, yes, medication is great and should be utilized whenever necessary, if you’re not yet diagnosed or just have symptoms seasonally, it may not be right for you. No, a better option for you might be video games. Several case studies have shown that when played at reasonable dosages, video games can help curb and/or alleviate symptoms of depression by working with your brain’s pleasure response system. 

Every time you complete a task, reach a goal post, or finally, take down a boss, your brain triggers the neurotransmitters responsible for dopamine and you receive a rush of the “good” chemicals. These achievements also cause your brain’s reward system to react by acting as a kind of secretary. The brain takes a snapshot and records this moment in your long-term memory so that you can look back on the win when you need a quick serotonin boost. Knowing this, let’s look at the top three games that people have said help them curb their depression. 

  1. Animal Crossing New Horizons. Having come out at the height of the pandemic, Animal Crossing New Horizons earned its place rather quickly as one of the most iconic games of 2020. Now two years later, plenty of gamers are still paying their debts back to their tanuki landlord Tom Nook. The game is highly regarded by most as a relaxing experience that allows you to go about doing menial tasks that would be overwhelming IRL as you develop a thriving island community with plenty of adorable neighbors. It’s especially helpful in reminding people to take breaks as the game is linked to your device’s actual clock and has plenty of timed tasks, some of which take up to a day or longer in real-time. Meaning, that you can’t speed run your island to catch up if you just bought the game. Overall, it’s a fun experience that helps people regulate their time and expectations. 
  2. Minecraft. This game is probably the oldest on our list having just turned 11 years old. The classic game has some of the most iconic iconographies in recent gaming history, but it also has some of the most calming gameplay to date, as long as you play it for the overworld and not for experience. Well, yes, Minecraft has mobs, bosses and PvP. it is still very calming when you’re not running from skeletons or your friend’s wolves after you accidentally slapped them while opening a chest. The game allows players to build up entire worlds with plenty of cute animals and flowering scenery to enjoy, and since it’s a sandbox game, there are basically no limitations, especially with mods. 
  3. Stardew Valley. Probably the only mobile game on the list, Stardew Valley is a farming simulator where you help build up a community. Much like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley is a game that often gives a relaxing experience that allows you to go about doing menial tasks that would be overwhelming IRL. 

And there’s the list. Yes, it’s short, but why would you want to sit here reading an article when you could be playing Animal Crossing? Have a nice day and take care of yourself.

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