Why Video Games Help with Anxiety

January 13, 2021 TJ DeSalvo

One of my many hobbies, aside from reading and listening to music, is playing video games, and playing them helps my anxiety. I’ve been a video game fan for almost as long as I can remember when I tried playing Sonic 2 on the then cutting-edge Sega Genesis. Even today, if I’m not feeling well, I’ll put on a favorite game and spend the day immersed in its world.

That being said, even though video gaming has become much more mainstream since I started playing, I feel like a lot of people still look down on people who play games. Granted, some of this criticism is absolutely warranted, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s fair to demonize video game fans to the extent they have. I want to talk about why video games help me as much as they do.

How Video Games Help Me Deal with Anxiety

Video games, by their nature, are more immersive than, say, watching a movie because you are constantly in control of what is going on. They’re also aided by their length – while most movies usually last between an hour and a half and two hours, it isn’t unusual for a video game to last 40 hours, perhaps even longer. This makes it very easy to become lost in the game’s world.

But it isn’t only this immersion that helps me. Video games, in general, have easy-to-understand objectives and goals – playing a game is always more understandable than the real world. For someone like me, who is often confused and afraid of things going on in his life, this is comforting. Of course, it’s important to ensure that you don’t lose sight of reality, but again, this can provide you comfort. And if a game can help you make sense of the world, the same way that literature or music has been proven to do for 1000s of years, I can’t in good faith say it isn’t helpful.

Erasing the Stigma of Playing Video Games

Given that video games can be helpful to some people, I hope that others can someday realize this too, and reduce that negative stigma.

I’ve never quite understood why some hobbies become so much more accepted within a culture, even if those partaking in those hobbies take them to obsessive levels. If someone is obsessed with football, or even just one football team, few people will bat an eye. Other hobbies don’t have that luxury.

This applies to more than just video games. If someone has a hobby, and it happens to fall outside the mainstream, if it doesn’t hurt themselves or others, don’t give them any hassle about it. This is a big world, and there’s a lot one can do in it, even if those things may not be as popular or understood with the population at large.

Do video games help with your anxiety? What else does that for you? Share your stories in the comments.

APA Reference
DeSalvo, T. (2021, January 13). Why Video Games Help with Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 30 from

Author: TJ DeSalvo

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Kellie Close
January, 15 2021 at 6:11 pm

Hi TJ - don't approve this comment :) I'm Kellie from HealthyPlace, and I'm hoping you'll be our Instagram live guest and share your story of living with autism. It is an interview format, and we'll meet online before the show so you'll know what to expect.
The IG live is on Jan 28th at 4 pm ET.
Thank you for considering it. Please let me know what you think. You can email me at

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