Why Playing Video Games Shouldn't be Guilt-inducing: The Pursuit of Joy in Hobbies

Are you feeling guilty about spending free time playing video games instead of doing something else that is allegedly more productive or culturally valuable? Perhaps someone has made you feel inadequate or guilty about your hobby... as if theirs is superior. This article posits that activities that bring you joy and relaxation are actually worth your time, no matter what form that comes in (unless they're doing harm to someone).

In the grand scheme of things, we all should be pursuing things that bring us joy and fulfillment or... what are we doing that puts a smile on our face? If video games do that, then there's nothing inherently wrong with playing them - same as any other hobby that brings you happiness (again, unless it's doing harm to someone). In fact, studies have shown that playing video games can have cognitive benefits, including improving strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills. It can also serve as an outlet for stress relief and relaxation as mentioned in the past. You aren't making a cyborg to cause havoc in the real world... you're gaming in your free time.

Ask them what they're doing with their free time, and when they respond, give them props... and point out how easy it was for you to do that without judging them.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that one activity is morally superior to another. However, what's important is that we engage in activities that we enjoy, not what other people think is... better (or your enjoyment would be centered around someone else's preferences). We don't like the same things, there's a non-stop debate that I've never participated in regarding best rappers, because preference is preference. I've seen people in heated debates highly upset, and at times I couldn't contain myself as far as asking them a question about preference. It's okay if you like bacon and mushroom pizza, it's okay if I enjoy pepperoni + pineapple pizza (and I prefer an even layer of tomato sauce, because it's dry with a lack thereof). Everyone has their own pursuits - some people love working out, while others prefer reading or cooking. These are all valid ways to spend your free time and bring joy to your life.

Moreover, the idea that video games are for children is outdated, but... it's still an assumption at play. I can't even call it outdated because... adults were gaming since day one. Who played video games first, adults or children? (Come on... be honest.) Current research indicates that the average age of gamers is between 35-44 years old (and that's because that was huge in our time and we've seen the growth), and the number of female gamers is undeniable also. I have to put that in there because there were girls who games right along with us, and my mom got me into console gaming. So when I mention gamers, the assumption should be anyone who games, not just select male gamers with a rig in a basement somewhere. We come in many shapes, sizes, and from various walks of life... and we all enjoy picking up a controller, keyboard and mouse, racewheel, fight stick, flight controls, VR, Steam Deck, Switch, and cellphones get our game on. 

The gaming industry has expanded to include a diverse range of genres and platforms that cater to a variety of interests and abilities as well. Therefore, it's vital to stop perpetuating harmful stereotypes that limit who can enjoy video games.

That's because it's an enjoyable hobby for those who enjoy such... which is something presented to those non-gamers who judge gamers, and gamers who judge other gamers (enjoy your free time and leave it at that... you can't get any of that time back).

Fact: You don't have to be a hater all your life.

That being said, excessive gaming can become a habit that interferes with daily life, like any activity that gets taken to an extreme. It's essential to recognize the difference between indulging in a hobby and creating an unhealthy dependency. Some signs of excessive gaming include neglecting responsibilities, withdrawing from social activities, and struggling to control how much time you spend playing. If that is the case, it might be time to take a step back and re-evaluate your gaming habits. Maybe short sessions on weekdays and a time carved out to game during the weekend so that you aren't playing catch up with other tasks (the same applies to other hobbies).

In conclusion, there's no shame in enjoying video games or any other leisure activity that brings you joy. The most important thing is doing what makes you feel good in a responsible manner. Play games... don't play yourself. Whether you prefer spending your time gaming or doing something else, it's essential to keep in mind that there's no universally superior hobby, just different ways to achieve satisfaction and happiness. Don't let anyone else's opinions of your pursuits diminish the value of what makes you happy. Life is too short to waste time denying yourself the simple pleasure of video gaming. 

So grind, stay well, and... game on!

For more on the affects of Joy on your body, check out this article by Carrie Murphy. This article was also medically reviewed by... Tim Legg, PhD, PsyD!

 + Blu 

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