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Video games as a way of relaxing / obtaining distance?

  1. Dec 28, 2009 #1

    I have a question about video games and relaxing. I am a Physics student and I am going to obtain my Bachelor's by next summer. I would say that I take my studies very seriously. I am not the kind of guy to go out with friends much, but I also cannot study from dusk till dawn.

    Whenever I have studied for a couple of hours (or sometimes much less), I feel like I need to relax. I tried everything, but I feel that after having studied a physics text, I do not want to read a book (like fiction). Usually, that does not give me the kind of motivation I need to give the physics problem I am working on a fresh try. But strangely, games do. I sometimes feel funny about it, but I have loved games since I was a child. When I have played for half an hour or so, I feel new motivation. It is as if after some intellectual struggle, I need something to get some distance, but something which is also not addictive. To me, games are not addictive, but just fun.

    I have a hobby which I am trying (sometimes struggling) to take seriously, it's drawing and painting. This requires regular practice, but somehow, it is addictive. Maybe, that's because I am rather a beginner, maybe I just lack maturity (on how to deal with it). But when I start a drawing (like studies) or a digital painting, I cannot simply forget it, I keep thinking about it and it's hard to shake it off. I start looking at websites, getting inspiration, and I forget all about physics. That's why I can not effectively relax from Physics by drawing. With games, it is different, I just plug in and play, stop, and five minutes later, I am not haunted by the content of the game any more. This sometimes makes me feel stupid, it's a shallow thing, a waste of time, but I just haven't found anything better.

    Maybe, you know the problem? What do you think about it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 28, 2009 #2
    The only time i EVER played video games, is after a major breakup... its been about a year or two since ive touched those "drugs."

    Video games are exactly that, distractions from reality. They have their uses, but, in my case when i was younger i became addicted quite easily and my social degredation became apparent. The only time i find myself playing video games is when the distraction would outweigh the doing nothing due to greif. Though, they should only be .. used very rarely. Because they can have an extremely adverse effect on your lifestyle.. eating habits, general health, social abilities, and study habits.

    I suggest spending time at a fitness facility, or meeting some people who share your interests..

    see this thread: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=365524 and read my response on the third page.

    Or even take up a hobby that can give you something good or something you can share with others. Video games easily, for myself, cause me to gain weight, lose out on some of my social connections (i would consider myself quite social) and effect my study habits immensely.

    Something to ponder.

    Best Regards,
  4. Dec 28, 2009 #3


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    I play video games still. I have a daughter and a degree both now; two trophies to show I'm still able to function normally in society while being a gamer.

    There's definitely people who have problems with gaming and let it come between them and the rest of life, but then there's people who drink the hatorade and think everyone that plays games is like that. Unfounded obfuscated ad hominem!

    Also, I don't play WOW. I don't think I'm strong enough to resists the dark side of the gaming force.
  5. Dec 28, 2009 #4
    I wasn't, i lost my girlfriend to WOW (no joke), and have religiously, under extreme circumstances, banned the damn things out of my life. I do not have that balance with games..

    So i tend to stay away from them, i envy you buddy :)
  6. Dec 28, 2009 #5


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    It's ok, Anakin. At the end of the third (sixth?) movie, you throw the evil WOW out of the death star and restore balance to the force, just as Qui Gon predicted you would.
  7. Dec 28, 2009 #6
  8. Dec 28, 2009 #7
    Everyone needs a hobby, but I suggest something more productive than video games. Video games can also be addictive since you get a surge of dopamine when you win - it can be just like a drug.
  9. Dec 28, 2009 #8
    Like :)
  10. Dec 29, 2009 #9
    Avoid MMORPGs and the like, casual gaming is actually alright.
    I sometimes game a lot certain months and other months I don't play anything at all. Certain video games use up the brain's resources and make you feel tired, it isn't like watching TV where you just vegetate. Due to this resource consumption for the past year I've barely played any video games at all.

    This being said, there is nothing wrong for those of you who enjoy playing video games more frequently. I'd much rather that people play video games instead of watching television which on average is probably far less stimulating.
  11. Dec 29, 2009 #10
    There is only one peice of advice you need OP.

    Do what you find fun.

    Some people find gaming a waste of time, I personally don't. It's a really nice distraction. I don't understand people that just HAVE to do meaningful things with all their free time and plan every moment of their free time, and if they don't they get really cranky.

    The key is to strike a nice balance between work, meaningful hobbies (such as drawing, sports etc), and puerile leasure time.

    PS WoW is for nubs. EVE all the way.
  12. Dec 29, 2009 #11
    If you're able to play your games without becoming addicted and spending too much time on them then I see no problem.

    Drawing and similar projects can definitely be a bad way to take a break. It is quite easy to get sucked in and spend hours on a project without even realizing it.

    Issac Asimov said that he enjoys watching mindless action movies to rest his brain. Patrick Stewart, a Shakespearian actor, said in interview once that he loved watching Bevis and Butthead. So as far as turning to "shallow" avenues of entertainment to take a break and relax you're in pretty good company.
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