Games were probably a part of your childhood, but you may not have brought many of them with you into adulthood. Although board games and card games may seem like little more than child’s play, many of them offer you a great array of benefits that can help you unwind after a busy day, socialize more, improve your memory and increase your concentration skills. In fact, several studies have been performed around the world to prove that games are particularly good for your mental health as you age. Here are five key ways that games can reduce your mental stress.

1. Games Let You Escape

If your work or the news that you are reading is filling you with stress, a game can help you escape. By doing something completely different for even a short time, like playing a quick game of solitaire, you can escape the stress of your everyday life and leap into a world of numbers, clues, mystery and adventure. When you are deep into a game and enjoying its challenges, you no longer worry about the various problems in your life. In fact, the endorphin rush of a game may leave you more energized to take on life’s roadblocks. 

2. Games Can Get You Away from Screens

If you are someone who has to spend most of your day in front of a computer screen or if you find yourself scrolling through the news feed on your smartphone for an hour or two every night, a non-computer game can help you unplug from screens and get involved in something new. While keeping up with your friends’ lives and the news around the world is important to a point, you can become so immersed in it that it begins to fill you with worries. A physical board game or card game will help you become more aware of reality while you enjoy the simpler things in life.

3. Games Decrease Your Need to Be in Control

Many people who worry excessively discover that they feel the need for increased control. No matter what your job is, you do not have to be in control 100 percent of the time, and a well-timed game can help you face the unknown. Many games are games of pure chance, and they can help you realize that you will make it through to the other side of the unknown even if you meet with something unexpected.

4. Games Help You Exercise Your Brain

As much research has shown, all types of games help you exercise your brain as you must typically play quickly, consider risks, make important choices and remember cards and numbers depending on the game you have chosen. Games do not work out the same way twice, and these new dynamics will keep you focused on the game rather than your fears.

5. Games Can Build Your Self-Confidence

As you win games, you will feel your confidence blossoming. Independent games, such as solitaire or candy crush, are particularly good for this as you will not have to depend on any other players to set the tone for the game. If you are feeling particularly bored or down, a quick game or two can infuse you with the energy and confidence you need to face the rest of the day while decreasing any stress you may be feeling. In fact, games release endorphins, which is known to control and improve your mood. 

The great news is that you can reap the many benefits of playing games no matter how old you are. If you are feeling particularly stressed these days, pick up your favorite childhood game or organize a virtual game night with your family members, and you’ll feel peace, contentment and happiness wash over you.