Addiction to video games doesn’t exactly earn most women (or men, for that matter) a reputation for being “cool,” but according to a recent study, playing video games boosts self-confidence nonetheless. Researchers say that gamers are enabled to assume personality traits that they wish they could have, which bumps up their self-esteem. Of course, anything that boosts confidence is good, but we still think spending time at the gym is better than logging time in front of an Xbox.
In the study, researchers asked hundreds of casual gamers and thousands of dedicated gamers how they felt about their ideal characteristics after playing games. The answers indicate that people feel more positive about themselves, as opposed to feeling negative. Dr. Andy Przybylski, lead author of the study, explains:
The attraction to playing video games and what makes them fun is that it gives people the chance to think about a role they would ideally like to take and then get a chance to play that role. When somebody wants to feel they are more outgoing and then plays with this personality, it makes them feel better in themselves when they play.
That’s good news, especially considering that some stats say that, globally, people spend three billion hours per week playing games. But, unless you’re already making time for this pastime, we’re not convinced that you have to squeeze in hours of gaming in order to get the same self-esteem boost. Instead, why not apply the same logic to exercise? Wish you were a sexy burlesque dancer? There are classes for that (and they burn calories). Wish you were a daring capoeira fighter? There are also classes for that (and they build muscle and coordination). Wish you were better at facing confrontation? Take a boxing class…You get the picture.
Changing up your workout routine and trying new classes can not only give you a post-play self-esteem boost, it can also give you a stronger, healthier body—and that always feels good, regardless of whether you’ve actually become more daring, sexy, or confrontational. So while we won’t knock you for playing video games, we just think you could accomplish a little more by spending $15 on a dance class instead of a game.