From playing a solo game of cards to challenging a competitor on the other side of the world to a spelling contest, there are many way to pass the time – but it seems gaming is more than just a hobby. Extensive research has shown that such activities can improve your mental health in a variety of useful and long-lasting ways, so let’s delve deeper into this fascinating issue.

Bingo for the brain

Believe it or not your brain can become lazy and sluggish if it’s not constantly used and challenged – just like other parts of your body.

Through various studies, the University of Southampton recently revealed that bingo can effectively slow and counter age-related decline in our thinking capacity. This number-based gamed – centred around luck but requiring great concentration and perception – has also been found to have a positive impact on memory and mental speed, improving our ability to scan information accurately.

Furthermore, regular bingo is believed to improve the functional performance of the brain by over 2.5 per cent, so it’s well worth taking your chances (and perhaps winning some money in the process). With online bingo games readily available you don’t even have to lug yourself down to the local village hall and can simply compete against others from the comfort of your own home.

So, if you want to remain sharp and focussed throughout life, why not check out a site such as Wink Bingo and enhance your cognition skills while having fun at the same time?

Video games for reaction times   

If bingo doesn’t take your fancy, fear not, as video games of all kinds can also have a positive impact on your mental health. That’s right, battling zombies, chasing baddies or simply driving the car of your dreams can actually improve your reaction times by up to 25 per cent.

In fact, scientists in Poland have discovered that playing action video games trains people to make the right decisions faster as they develop a heightened sensitivity to what is going on around them. These skills can then be transferred into real life and assist with everyday activities such as multitasking, driving, reading small print, keeping track of friends in a crowd and general navigation.

Gaming for improved spatial attention

On a similar thread, meticulous studies have been carried out to decipher how gaming effects spatial cognition and the results are extremely interesting. In short, those who enjoy playing various video games become much better at singling out targets in a field of distractions than those who have never or rarely played. Gamers were also found to process a stream of briefly presented objects more efficiently and could track a number of objects at once – skills that would undoubtedly prove useful in real life scenarios such as driving.

When it comes to playing games online there’s often a lot of negative press, such as it can lead to violence or obesity, however, it seems that enjoying the games you love can actually have a positive impact on your mental health.