Best Alternative Activities to Playing Video Games
Video games offer numerous benefits to players from stress relief and entertainment to measurable growth and problem-solving skills. But what happens when your favorite pastime spirals into an uncontrollable addiction? Similar to the dopamine “surge” that drug and alcohol addicts experience when using their substance of choice, playing video games can become an unhealthy addiction without you even realizing it.
One way to prevent this from happening is to find alternative activities to gaming. That doesn’t mean you have to quit playing video games altogether. It just means incorporating other activities and hobbies into your life that offer the same benefits as video games. This helps keep your gaming habit in check while also promoting a versatile lifestyle and skill set.
Need inspiration? Keep reading to discover a few of the best alternative activities to playing video games that will help broaden your horizons.
Let’s start with a favorite pastime of many — and one that generally starts from a very young age. Competitive and team sports offer countless benefits from learning teamwork and problem solving to offering a sense of community and belonging. These are all similar to the benefits of MMO (mass multiplayer online) and strategy video games.
In recent years, gaming has become a highly social pastime. From multiplayer games to chat rooms, video games give players a social outlet without ever leaving their homes. While this is beneficial for those with social anxiety or who are inherently shy, it can also create long-term hurdles and difficulties when it comes to social interaction.
Competitive and team sports not only give you the opportunity to socialize and interact with others but also makes you feel part of a welcoming community. After all, you’re part of a team and that means having uniforms, a team name, and possibly even a chant or song! Team sports provide a sense of unity and belonging, similar to that offered by gaming groups and online communities.
Competitive sports aren’t just for kids, either. Most communities have adult leagues for sports like football, softball, and basketball. If yours doesn’t, why not pave the way and create a team of your own? This is another way to boost your confidence and strengthen your social and communication skills.
Extreme and Outdoor Sports
Looking to kick things up a notch? Extreme sports are a great alternative activity for those who thrive on adrenaline and a sense of danger. These are common attributes of first-person shooters and sports games. Safely skirt the line of danger by engaging in extreme sports like snowboarding, skydiving, or mountain biking. Competitive extreme sports are perfect for anyone with a competitive drive who are also looking to acquire new skills. You’ll even love the feeling of winning against adversity.
Outdoor activities and sports are popular options for highly curious gamers that enjoy exploring and discovering new things. Things like hiking and kayaking allow for outdoor stimulation and also tap into your sense of adventure in a more docile way. If you want to combine the outdoors, discovery, and a thrill, try an activity like white water rafting.
Martial arts is a unique activity that offers great benefits as a form of video game addiction treatment. That’s because martial arts is both self-reflective and group orientated. While most classes are held in a group setting where socialization is possible, many moves, routines, and even sparring matches are done on an individual basis. This is why this activity appeals to both gamers who enjoy interacting online and those who prefer the seclusion it provides.
Martial arts is also widely recognized for its ability to boost confidence, teach discipline, and as a viable form of exercise and self-defence. One reason people like playing video games is that they can set and achieve long-term goals and experience measurable growth. Learning moves, skills, and routines in martial art forms like Jiu-Jitsu and Judo, help you build your skill-set over time while experiencing visible, measurable improvement.
Volunteering in the Community
For gamers that crave a sense of belonging and community, there’s no activity more suitable and satisfying than volunteering or joining a community group. There are countless organizations that focus solely on giving back. Volunteering is often done in large groups like those formed by a church or other non-profit organization.
For example, Habitat for Humanity builds homes for families in need. By joining this group, you can gain a sense of accomplishment and belonging as you watch the project unfold. You may even be part of the planning process, which involves strategizing and problem solving. As you and your team work together toward a common goal, you can see the fruits of your labor. These are all common benefits also associated with playing video games.
Creative Art Forms
Creativity is another major appeal for video gamers. Games like Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite all involve creating unique and elaborate worlds. If you’re looking for a creative outlet outside of video games, why not explore other art forms like painting or sculpture, music, and dance? Composing music, choreographing a beautiful dance, or creating a masterpiece through art are all forms of self-expression. In addition, most creative activities require dexterity and fine motor skills, which video games also promote.
Adventure games, specifically, appeal to the part of your brain responsible for sensory data and information. Creating an art sculpture or learning a musical instrument activates this same portion of the brain in similar ways. Learning new creative skills also offers measurable growth. Similarly, video games have a learning curve, which means as you see yourself improving and getting better, you become more motivated to play. The same can be said for certain forms of art and creative expression. After all, practice makes perfect.
Playing certain video games also takes a lot of focus and memory prowess. It’s this constant engagement and challenge that keeps most players glued to the screen. Instead of focusing all your attention on video games, try channeling that same energy and dedication to learning a musical instrument, dance, or other creative art form.
If you’re looking for an alternative activity to video games but aren’t quite ready to give up your gaming screen, why not choose a hobby that involves tech and digital devices? Graphic design combines a love for creativity and creation with the digital world but in a more productive way. Graphic design is also ideal for gamers who prefer a more mellow and low-energy activity. Self-help programs on gaming addiction typically recommend to have an activity that is low energy to match the effort level that would be expended when playing video games. Sometimes it’s unappealing to be carrying out a high energy activity so this is a good low energy option.
Not only is graphic design intellectually stimulating but in today’s digital age, it could develop into a very lucrative career. From web design to architecture and animation, the career options for graphic designers are endless. If you think you can handle the temptation, perhaps dabble in video game design or coding as well.
Continuing on the path of alternative activities that also involve some level of tech, 3D printing combines computer skills and coding with creative expression. 3D technology allows you to create and design everything from gadgets and tools to decorations before printing them as three-dimensional items. In fact, 3D printing is used in some parts of the world to build low-income housing.
3D design and printing are great alternative activities for gamers that like producing unique characters, environments, and accessories in games like Minecraft and Fortnite. Now, you can take your creations and bring them to life while also learning planning fundamentals and real-world applications.
Meditation or Mindfulness
While these may not be the most exciting alternative activities for gamers, they are the quickest way to reduce stress and anxiety. If you play video games as a way to destress or forget about your everyday troubles, it might be time to find an activity that helps you handle these feelings rather than mask them. Both meditation and mindfulness are designed to help you better understand and cope with negative thoughts and feelings, reducing stress and improving your overall mood.
You can also try your hand at yoga, which combines mindfulness and physical activity, offering a dual approach to stress relief. Try using meditation and yoga in addition to more exciting and interactive activities to help replace both the thrill and the stress relief that video games offer.
Discover the Benefits of a Well-Rounded Lifestyle
Over 2 billion gamers around the world can’t be wrong. Video games are universally appealing for many reasons including stress reduction, entertainment, and socialization. But if you fear your video game habit is getting out of control or are simply looking to broaden your horizons, there are plenty of activities that can help.
Everything from competitive sports and outdoor activities to 3D printing and graphic design offer similar stimulants as video games but with much healthier outcomes!