Board Games and Your Brain: A Simple Solution to Mental Health Needs

Board Games, Geoffrey Parker Games

It has been projected the global board games market is due to grow to a £10 billion market in the next four years; this compares to making roughly £7 million annually according to a recent study reported by Global News Wire. Many suggest that although millennials might be a reason for this surge in the market; the documented mental and social benefits to playing board games may also be playing a massive role in this growth. Board games offer crucial mental stimulation to both the old and young; providing valuable opportunities for social skill practice and acquisition in a controlled setting.

A Controlled Social Setting

A board game often requires more than one player and can be played in a group social setting. Professor Joan Fenaughty suggests in a study she conducted that board games can help develop social skills in not just children, but in adolescents and adults as well. Positive interactions in controlled settings like a board game have helped many in her study; this includes those individuals with diagnosed mental health disorders like autism spectrum disorder. Instead of the daunting task of socializing at a party or a big dinner, board games are approachable and can benefit an individual’s social skills; especially an individual working through mental health issues.

Cognitive and Memory Stimulation

In addition to being a fun and competitive pastime, a board game can also stimulate areas of the brain responsible for complex thought and memory acquisition. It’s reported by Health Fitness Revolution; that during gameplay, the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex areas of the brain are utilised. Board games often require a player to memorise number patterns and use abstract thinking, mathematical, or problem-solving skills. These are all critical thinking skills that are valuable to a person’s mental health. Some recent studies even suggest that there is a pattern between board game play and a decline in dementia.

In addition to important cognitive stimulation, playing a board game reduces stress and feelings of loneliness. Playing board games fosters positive relationships and can help fight off feelings of isolation by giving one a sense of community. RealNetworksInc. released their findings in a recent study; it suggested that board games can even help ward off unwanted stress and provide mental balance

Put away the cell phones, turn off the TV; instead, unwind with a board game. Board games provide opportunities of practicing positive social skills while stimulating vital areas of the brain for critical thinking skills. The benefits to your mental health are countless.

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