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Video game addiction has been a phenomenon that has seen a huge rise throughout the 21st century. And it’s easy to see why – the enormous number of immersive titles released over the last fifteen to twenty years has made it increasingly difficult to just turn it off. Gaming is fun, but it’s important that you don’t overdo it, as getting too addicted can seriously affect you both mentally and physically.
Physically, the lack of exercise that is often a side effect of video game addiction can make you weak, tired and overweight. Exercise is super important for feeling fresh and full of beans, and so missing it out of your day can affect you mentally too. Additionally, the physical strain of battering a controller all day can cause problems with your muscles and in the nerves in your hands and wrists.
But the physical effects are often only the tip of the iceberg. Mentally, addiction is an even bigger strain. A lack of productivity outside the gaming world can mean a loss of productive time and a decrease in your grades which makes you stressed. Family and friendship ties can become strained, making you feel isolated, and the money you spend on games can cause a financial burden.
So how do you beat that addiction?
- Make a list of your priorities for the day, and do the non-gaming ones first. Even just telling yourself “five minutes” can seem enticing, but you’ll soon get sucked in. Make sure you’ve allocated time for friends and family.
- Time how long you’re spending playing video games each day and read the list back to yourself at the end of the week – the shock you’ll get from realising how many hours it takes from your life can often be the boost you need to cut down a little bit every day.
- Go to bed earlier. It is often the late night playing that affects your system the worst, and by going to bed earlier, you’ll be forced to play for fewer hours.
- Read a walkthrough of the game you’re playing – it’ll annoy you that you already know most of the storyline and will save hours being stuck on that one bit that you just can’t get past.
- Avoid MMO’s as best you can – they’re fine every once in awhile but it’s easy to get caught up. If you’re desperate to play multiplayer, arrange to meet a friend and play games at their house.
- Make a bucket list of things you want to do that don’t include games. Make plans with friends and climb that hill you’ve always wanted to hike. You’ll be surprised at how easily games start to take a back seat.
By starting with these five tips, you can slowly cut down the amount you’re playing until you reach a level that is enjoyable whilst not damaging your health in any way. The world is a beautiful place, and although the in-game worlds can be fantastic too, they’re not worth sacrificing your health and missing out on real life for.