5 reasons why video games are actually good for you

Growing up, you probably heard from your parents that the video games you were playing were killing your brain cells. While you're probably not getting much exercise, video games actually are strengthening and rejuvenating your brain.

1. Video games reduce stress and help cope with depression

Many regular gamers play as a way to relax, but this is true of anyone who picks up a controller. In fact, gamers who suffered from stress and depression could vent their frustration and aggression through video games. As a result, they showed a notable improvement with their mental illnesses. The games helped them escape from their own worries for awhile and provided a safe outlet to vent their emotions.

2. Gaming can improve your vision

Many people would reasonably assume that staring at a screen for hours on end hurts your vision. And it usually does. But apparently certain video game types can actually improve vision. A study found that people suffering from cataracts could improve their vision by playing first-person shooters like Call of Duty. Researchers believe these games are so fast-paced that they require a lot of attention, which trains visually impaired people to pay closer attention to their surroundings.

3. Video games increase your hand-eye coordination

Several studies have found that playing video games can improve surgeons' skills during surgery. Gaming for just three hours a week showed a 37 percent improvement in surgeons performing laparoscopic surgery. Another study found that high school gamers were better at virtual surgery than actual medical residents. The two groups competed in a virtual simulation of actual surgical tasks and the high school students dramatically outperformed the surgical residents. The correlation between improved hand-eye coordination and video gaming cannot be ignored.

4. Games improve your decision-making skills

Making split-second decisions in a video game actually trains your brain for real life decision-making. Cognitive neuroscience researchers suggest that action-oriented games work as a kind of simulator for the decision-making process. Players have several chances to infer information from their surroundings and force them to react accordingly. This skill is a good one to have in real life.

5. Video games can keep your brain sharp in old age

Playing brain-teasing games for just two hours a week can help slow mental decay associated with aging. These can be puzzle games or even any cognitively-demanding game like World of Warcraft. Anything that makes you think deeply and strategize can help you maintain your mental capacities. Playing video games can also improve your natural level of happiness, even as you age. Another study found that senior citizens who played video games even just occasionally reported a higher level of of happiness or well-being.

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