Stress Management

Surprise! Pokemon Go is helping people


Students are playing it.

Teachers are playing it.

Sales reps are playing it.

Maybe you’re playing it.

Pokemon Go, at the risk of sounding cliche, is very much taking the world by storm. The tiny Japanese monster2016_07_18_20.10.58 phenomena of the 1990s has returned with a vengeance on our smartphones, free both for Android and iPhone.

Perhaps the core player base are in their 20s and 30s, but the card game-turned-Nintendo game-turned-app is also a hit with players 10 and younger. Everyone is running around city streets and parks chasing the tiny creatures that captured our hearts in the past.

Most interestingly, aside from errant fledgling trainers taking tumbles– or more macabre happenings like stumbling across bodies, wandering into zoo enclosures, or stepping off the curb and into a moving car (all of which were reported in the news) are the positive impacts happening around the world.

According to multiple news articles and reports  players of Pokemon Go are seeing improvements in their depression symptoms, social anxiety and overall better mental health.

In my own life, I’ve noticed mobile games have provided a kind of escape for me. I can forget about my work anxiety and fears if I pour myself into a few rounds of Alphabear or Bejeweled. Only when I say so can the outside world creep back into my vision– when I’m more ready to handle it.

Is it healthy in the big picture? The jury’s still out. But is it a coping mechanism that works? You betcha.

And as far as busting roadblocks to mental healthfulness, Pokemon Go seems to be on a winning streak.

How is this happening? Here’s a top three:

  1. Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and by improving self-esteem and cognitive2016_07_18_20.10.08 function. Say “yes” to endorphins! (Check the link out for all the wonderful ways exercise increases quality of life!)
  2. For seasoned Pokemon players, the game may recall feelings of nostalgia, a longing for the past which is often bittersweet. This may combat loneliness and anxiety.
  3. Being in nature is relaxing. (Click the link for another great list.)

And let’s not forget the impact on physical health. After all, you can’t catch ’em all while sitting still. And those eggs definitely won’t hatch while sitting on your bum!

You never know who you’ll find exploring your neighborhood! Look below to watch my surprise encounter with a wild house cat type!

Don’t worry, their daddy was found and kitty was escorted back home.



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