Card games bring 10 mental health benefits
Staying active and keeping your body fit is important to maintaining your health as you age. But, people often forget that this is also true for our minds. If you find yourself struggling to remember how to do something, then you may need to pay more attention to your mental health.
Studies have shown that many people struggle with their mental focus and cognition. In our 20s, the human brain volume peaks and then starts to go on a steady decline afterwards. This results ultimately in cognitive problems that include memory loss. Nonetheless, by simply engaging in activities that promote better mental health, you can constantly keep your mind sharp and reduce your risk of dementia.
In a USA Today report, Krystal Culler, a mental health specialist and a senior fellow with the Global Brain Health Institute, said it is important to prioritize brain health at a younger age so we can reap the rewards as we grow older. One great way to improve cognitive functions for both younger and older adults is by playing card games.
Card games are not only suitable for entertainment purposes, but there are also some emotional, psychological, and mental benefits that they can offer. From keeping your mind sharp to improving your reasoning and retention capacity, card games are great for your overall mental wellness.
With the pandemic putting more strain on the minds of many, here are some amazing benefits of card games to your brain health.
1. Acquire new skills
To the serious minded, card games might seem like a complete waste of time, yet playing card games online is great for your mental health. These games are built in a way that encourages you to cultivate certain thinking skills that are necessary for playing well and winning.
Since no two card games are ever precisely the same, it never gets boring, and the learning never stops. With each game, you get better at understanding the rules and navigating hurdles that you previously couldn’t.
2. Reduce your stress and decongest your mind easily
Most of us live incredibly stressful lives and struggle to unwind after long days of work and other stressors. Playing card games can be effective in reducing your stress and anxiety levels.
When playing a game, your mind is solely fixated on navigating the task at hand, and this encourages your brain to fall into a meditative state. This can enhance your mood and lower your stress levels.
3. Keep your mind sharp
A regular game of cards can be fun to play, irrespective of your age. However, the level of mental gymnastics required can be especially beneficial to older adults.
Considering our brain capacity ages as we do, regularly engaging in card games can be crucial in protecting your brain from age-related cognitive diseases.
4. Enhance your maths and logical thinking skills
In addition to improving your cognitive skills and lowering your risk of mental illnesses, card games can actually make you a lot smarter by improving your math and strategic thinking skills for young and old alike.
Mental math is something most people don’t get to engage in as they go about their day-to-day life, but doing this regularly challenges your mind and improves your IQ.
5. Improve your memory
Studies have shown that playing card games can be highly effective in improving your retention and memory capacity.
Card games such as concentration and solitaire are great brain exercise, particularly for older adults, since they involve constant intake and recall of information.
6. Improve social interactions
Since the pandemic began and social isolation became the order of the day, most of us have had little opportunity to socialize with friends and spend time with family.
Nevertheless, playing card games—whether online or offline—provides an avenue to interact with other players and spend quality time together while stimulating your mind. This in turn can improve socialization skills and help your forge better relationships with others through regular interaction.
7. Learn concentration, patience, and discipline
Playing card games has the power to keep your mind laser-focused on a task for hours on end. You can get so engrossed in the game that it distracts your mind from everything else.
Aside from the intense level of concentration required, there is the requirement for a certain amount of patience—a virtue that seems to be fading away these days—to avoid making hasty decisions that can lead you to mistakes and losses. Then there’s the need to make calculated risks while analysing your opponent’s moves.
All of these put together can translate into building better psychological skills that can be applied in your everyday life.
8. Encourage neuroplasticity
Many people struggle to embrace new information due to their rigid way of thinking, especially when ideas contradict their assumptions or existing understanding. This hurdle can be overcome by enhancing our mind's neuroplasticity, our brain’s ability to accommodate new information and be flexible with our thought processes.
One good lesson that can be learned while playing card games is mental flexibility. For example, when playing poker, you are required to adapt to whatever information is presented to you, make calculated decisions, and remain self-aware to deduce your opponent’s strategy.
9. Make you happy
Card games allow players to connect with their inner child through the thrills and healthy competition they promote. Experienced gamers learn how to properly regulate their emotions while playing with family and friends, keeping the game both competitive and friendly.
10. Cope with frustration
In every game there are winners and there are losers. However, some people are sore losers. Dealing with a loss is very hard—whether in a game or real-life situations. In some extreme cases, losers tend to become aggressive and violent, and this isn’t something that should be encouraged.
By playing card games, you eventually learn how to manage your negative emotions after a loss and move on. That way, you’ll learn how to effectively keep your emotions in check no matter the outcome of the game. In addition, reviewing your mistakes can help to ensure you don’t repeat them.