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Finding Happiness in Single Person Activities.

Human beings are highly social creatures, yet our lives are riddled with activities that promote individual activities, such as gaming. The effect of individual activities on an individual’s happiness and, ultimately, the society around them is a curious subject. Game designer Jane McGonigal said, “A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we are good at or getting better t and enjoy. The gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.” Gaming well: Links between video games and flourishing mental health,” an article by Jones Christian et al. concurs with McGonigal’s view on the video games and gives a wider and in-depth coverage on the subject. The paper analyses the interaction of videogames and the mental health and well-being of an individual by reviewing emerging research to analyze the positive effects of video gaming. The dominant subject in the paper is well-being. Since happiness is a critical part of well-being, the paper is a perfect basis for studying happiness in video gameplay.

Jones Christian et al. (260) defines flourishing mental health as the interaction between effective functioning and feeling good. The emphasis is that flourishing is not just the lack of mental disorder but rather the opposite. This concept of flourishing mental health has a foundational effect on happiness since mental health is imperative to an individual’s state of happiness or depression. The paper reviews the potential positive effects of videogames on personal computers, consoles such as Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation, mobile devices, and tablets.

The authors’ concept of flourishing mental health is competently outlined and linked to the subject of videogames. Flourishing individuals demonstrate high levels of emotional well-being, are purpose-driven, and have a healthy acceptance of themselves. The paper considers positive findings in Seligman’s positive psychology model for well-being as a basis for exploring the potential of video gameplay in enhancing well-being. Seligman’s model comprises five factors: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and purpose, and accomplishment. The application of Seligman’s model in single activities (video gaming) is appropriate since it is one of the structures applied in the analysis and enhancement of happiness, as demonstrated by the works such as Lambert et al. (1141).

The author proposes that videogames are fundamentally designed with aspects aligned with factors of well-being. Therefore, playing video games has the potential to enhance mental-wellbeing and, by extension, happiness. The research used to analyze the positive effects of gameplay is within Seligman’s model. Moderate gameplay can lead to positive and stable emotions. The relaxation and stress relief built into gaming raises positive mental well-being.  Durkin and Barber (373) study how gameplay elates to several modifiable factors for high school subjects. The study indicated that high schoolers who played video games had an advantage over their counterparts who did not play. The interesting and crucial part of the advantages of playing football is moderation. The author uses low and moderate keywords when giving an analysis of the Durkin and Barber study. The key words subtly point to the importance of factoring the amount of play and time spent on the video game.

Another important aspect is the individuals who play video games use it as a stress reliever, relaxation tool, and emotional regulator. The paper reviews a study that focuses on adolescent children. However, the argument can be applied to people of different ages since video games are created for people of different age groups and contain content custom made for every group. Since the design basis are content, and the content is customized, the effects are more or less the same. Both young children and adults who play a healthy amount of video games use it as a stress outlet and relaxation tool, which improves their well-being and, in turn, their happiness.

Engaging with a task increases a person’s happiness. The paper uses engagement to mean domination of interest, emotional investment, intensity of interaction, and commitment. Activities that necessitate intense concentration and enjoyment create flow and optimal experiences. Videogames fall squarely within the category of engaging activities. A game requires intense concentration and entertains the player while engaging in different aspects of their creative and analytical skills. Therefore, the connection between video games and happiness is valid as long as it remains a relaxation and enjoyment tool. The studies reviewed in consideration of video games’ engagement mention the importance of moderation since it draws a line between positive gaming and problematic gaming.

One of the most critical arguments proposed by Jones Christian et al. (260) is the gameplay’s relationship aspect. Video gaming is a single person activity. However, current trends challenge this assertion. Despite being physically alone, most games allow interaction with other people within the game as competitors or allies. The game’s character may not be solitary despite the isolated status of the individual playing the game in reality. Therefore, the question of relationships arise. The paper states that relationships within the games are a source of emotional and social support. The idea is sound since the player is immersed in the virtual world created in the game. Therefore, the emotions evoked in the game affect the player in reality.

Traditional research on the effects of gaming makes any analysis within this filled incomplete without coverage of the negative effects of videogames. The paper gives insights into the susceptibility of young people to the negative influence of violent videogames. Especially individuals with pre-existing characteristics that make them vulnerable to negative influences. The paper points out the long-established connection between violent videogames and aggression. The connection is based on previous studies that recorded self-reported aggressive feelings and behaviors. Other studies that disprove the long-term direct impact of violent games on self-reported aggression are also included. The studies were chosen to demonstrate the connection between aggressive behavior and violent games agree that the connection exists but differ in the effect’s severity and duration. Additionally, the author observes that players play violent games for the same reasons they play non-violent games, for the pleasure and happiness of the challenge and the release from reality.

Another negative aspect is pathological gaming. Although there are few longitudinal studies on pathological gaming, Jones Christian et al. (206) gives a competent argument on the subject. Pathological gaming is more likely a consequence of low psychological well-being rather than its cause. The study of reference examines the psychological causes and effects of pathological gaming on adolescent subjects (Lemmens, J. et al. 144). The conclusion is low psychological well-being is often an antecedent of pathological gaming, but an increase in low-self-esteem and loneliness is a consequence of pathological gaming. The onset and effects of pathological gaming are largely dependent on an individual’s well-being before they become a pathological gamer. Existing psychological shortcomings and excessive time spent on gaming play a significant role in the negative effects of videogames on an individual’s well-being and happiness.

Jones Christian et al. (260) present an interesting paper based on credible scholars’ reviews of research and studies. The application of Seligman’s model is a good approach that creates structure and determines if video games are good for people’s well-being. The argument brought out in the paper fills a gap in the field since very few studies focus on the positive impact of videogames. The conclusion is that if moderated videogames have a positive impact on an individual’s well-being and happiness. However, moderation is key. Additionally, pre-existing vulnerabilities can contribute to some of the negative aspects of individual video gaming, which exacerbates issues like low esteem and depression. Single person activities such as gaming have a positive effect if done in moderation; therefore, it can increase a person’s happiness.



Works Cited

Jones, Christian, et al. “Gaming well: links between videogames and flourishing mental health.” Frontiers in psychology 5 (2014): 260.

Lemmens, J., et al. “Psychosocial causes and consequences of pathological gaming.” Comput. Human Behav. 27, (2011) 144–152. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2010.07.015

Lambert, Louise, H-A. Passmore, and Mohsen Joshanloo. “A positive psychology intervention program in a culturally-diverse university: Boosting happiness and reducing fear.” Journal of Happiness Studies 20.4 (2019): 1141-1162.

Durkin, K., and Barber, B. “Not so doomed: computer game play and positive adolescent development.”  J. Appl. Dev. Psychol. 23, (2002) 373–392 doi: 10.1016/S0193-3973(02)00124-7

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