Our daily lives can get so busy. Obligations to work and family, as well as taking time to care for ourselves, can often make us forget to have a little fun. If the hustle and bustle of modern life has caused you to neglect your playful side, a weekly game night may be just what you need.
A game night will not only bring you laughter and enjoyment, but it will help you spend quality time with your friends and loved ones. But with so many commitments and so little time, you might be wondering if it’s worthwhile to take time out of your busy schedule to play? If so, read on for five ways a weekly game night will benefit you and your mental health.
1. Improves Relationships – Playing games with people you care about will not only improve relationships because you’re spending quality time, but it will actually strengthen those relationships through biochemistry. As you spend time close to loved ones, your body releases oxytocin, a hormone that creates feelings of trust and intimacy, strengthening your relationships.
2. Relieves Stress – Playing games induces laughter, and as the saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine.” Laughter is a very simple way to help your body produce endorphins, a neurotransmitter that will reduce your perception of pain and lead to feelings of euphoria, modulating stress and anxiety.
3. Relieves Anxiety and Depression – Spending time with friends or loved ones can make you feel significant and more important; this causes your serotonin to flow more. Serotonin will boost your mood, helping to regulate any anxiety or depression.
4. Improves Sleep – As you enjoy yourself with friends around the table, laughing and interacting with them, you will naturally reduce the levels of cortisol in your body, reducing stress and helping you sleep more soundly. You’ll also exert energy as you play, which will tire you out at the end of the day and help you fall asleep faster.
5. Makes You Happy – Having fun releases your natural “happy chemicals”, or hormones, that impact your mood. When you’re laughing and having fun, your body releases dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin. These hormones will naturally make you feel happier, both in the moment and in the long-term.
As you plan out your week with teacher conferences, work meetings, and lunch dates, make sure you schedule in a little time for fun. You’ll be glad you did.
Are you looking for guidance and encouragement to make your life more fulfilling and meaningful? A licensed mental health counselor can help you make changes and work towards achieving your goals. Call my office today, and let’s schedule a time to talk.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW