4 Valuable Games That Can Teach You Mindfulness
4 Valuable Games, Mindfulness is an idea that is being mentioned more and more alongside meditation these days. But while the two are intimately related, they’re not necessarily the same thing.
Meditation is mainly about using a given practice to simultaneously clear the mind, heighten the senses, and achieve a stress-free state.
Mindfulness, meanwhile, is essentially an aspect or method that can be part of meditation.
More specifically, it is defined in our piece’ Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation + How to Get Started’ as “a mental state accomplished by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment.”
Mindfulness is all about that one word: awareness. It is the process of making the mind clear and alert to present surroundings and circumstances.
And it can be achieved in numerous ways. While meditation tends to require little to no activity, empty or quiet surroundings, and an internal focus, one can achieve mindfulness through various practices that help center and focus the mind.
And believe it or not, these include games!
No, that doesn’t mean that loading up the latest Call Of Duty game on an Xbox or PlayStation will help you achieve mindfulness (though for some, this may be possible).
But it does mean that there are some fun/em> ways to pursue mindfulness, effectively allowing you to blend hobbies and partial meditation.
These are four games that suit the role.
Jenga is a game that seems to resurface at various points in our lives. You might play it as a child, then again over drinks in college, and then at the random bar or restaurant with games available for tables.
It’s usually treated quite casually as something to do with friends, half paying attention and generally enjoying some laughs. When you really focus on Jenga, however, is when it can become a legitimate mindfulness exercise.
It is a game designed to reward careful focus, mental engagement, and an ability to shut out distractions.
Truly practicing Jenga and learning to excel at it will teach you these skills in a relatively short time, and from there, it’s up to you to know to summon the same abilities without the game.
In this way, the game can effectively be used as a training tool for focus and mindfulness.
Solitaire is a curious game. In some respects, it can be considered among the most popular card games in the world.
Many think of it essentially as a solo “time-waster” to fill spare moments with. And according to a piece on Insider.com, it was initially included on computers to train people to use a mouse.
Maybe more than anything else, though, solitaire can be a calming influence. Unlike Jenga, it’s a game best played with clarity, focus, and an ability to ignore distractions.
Those who focus on solitaire, learn the game, and become skilled at focusing on nothing else are, in a certain sense, practicing mindfulness.
Sticking with cards, there’s also something to be said for learning mindfulness through poker’s more competitive game.
This is the case for two reasons. One is that to excel in poker; you have to study and learn the game thoroughly and then retain and utilize what you learn in the face of distraction.
As Poker.org notes in a piece on competitive poker, the pros in this game “spend as much time studying the game as they do playing.
” You don’t have to be a pro, of course, but you will need to treat it as a subject to learn, and putting your poker education to use amid a game requires focus and clarity.
The other reason that poker can help those looking to practice mindfulness is that it also involves reading an environment.
Poker players excel when they recognize what’s going on with the players around them without being distracted from their cards and strategies.
That is essentially a mindfulness technique unto itself.
Tetris may be a fascinating game of all from the standpoint of its effect on the mind. A few years ago, Huffpost.com put up an article citing scientific evidence that the game can change your brain.
And amazingly enough, this was far from the first article of its kind! It’s long been theorized that regular Tetris play can have some reasonably profound effects, and some have to do with de-stressing the mind.
Mind you, this is not necessarily a factual scientific matter. But even logically speaking, playing a game that is effectively a puzzle in motion is an excellent way to drown out the outside world and center yourself.
In time, particularly if you couple your Tetris gaming with deep breathing and a focus on relaxation, this focus can become effective mindfulness practice.
It is still important to remember in the end that becoming skilled at mindfulness is about more than playing games.
It takes dedication, commitment, and a specific frame of mind that can only be attained through practice.
But games like the ones above can certainly be part of that practice, and they can still provide you with some entertainment along the way.