In a world where disconnectedness, loneliness, and the lack of free time and meaningful social interactions is an exponentially increasing problem, humans are searching for new––and fun––ways to balance their mental health and reestablish their relationships.
Although the tech industry is coming up with more instant solutions to connect us in the virtual space and eliminate the physical distance between us, it seems like it’s not enough. Something important is missing––the essence of human connection.
The complex reality of communication and recreation we’re dealing with every day is making it clear: we need to be the architects of the change. We need to rediscover what meaningful relationships are, connect on a deeper level, and spend quality time with loved ones.
Do you feel like you could spend more time with your family? Are you looking for new ways to improve relationships with your friends? Do you want to bond with your colleagues or classmates? Would you like to establish new meaningful connections? How can you nurture long-distance relationships? The prompt card and board games may be the answer.
Say, when was the last time you played one?
Why Are Card and Board Games The Answer?
Not so long ago, playing chess, cards, Monopoly, or any other type of game that involves real objects (board, cards, figures, etc.) was a fun and often intellectually-challenging way to spend quality time with friends or family. From games that involve physical movement––like Twister––to the mentally stimulating Bridge, playing board games used to be a normal part of everyday life. A means to entertainment and relaxation.
But have you ever thought about the therapeutic effect they may have on us?
Games and Psychology Are Old Friends
The idea that there is something in card and board games that’s beneficial for our mental health and connection is nothing new to psychology. How many times have you participated in a team-building session that began with some light warm-up games?
Many therapists include different board games in their practice, especially when it comes to group therapy, but they often tweak the content of the game so that the focus of the participants’ attention is on the inner processes of the mind and their connection to each other.
Using different kinds of games in their experiments has helped psychologists draw conclusions about many mental processes such as intelligence, decision making, learning, emotions, motivation, interpersonal behavior, and so on.
And this research has revealed numerous benefits of board games you may not be aware of.
The Benefits of Playing Card and Board Games
There are many good reasons why you should say “yes” to an invitation for a good-old board or prompt card games night at your friend’s place.
Let’s start by naming a few.
They Are Fun
Board games are fun. They evoke and set free our inner child. If you ask us, having fun, laughing, and feeding your synapses serotonin is reason enough to consider getting back into the habit of playing them. However, there’s more.
They Make You Smart
Many board games enhance our cognitive skills and memory. Card games, chess, jamb, but also many later-date games like Dixit often require memorizing elements, using propositional logic, predicting outcomes based on previous actions, and other high-level cognitive abilities.
This is very stimulative and beneficial for the hippocampal region of the brain and the prefrontal brain cortex, which are areas of the brain involved in complex mental processes and memory formation.
Prompt Card Games Reduce Stress
If you have children, try observing them while they are playing board games, or try evoking memories of your own experience. What are the sounds you can associate with them? And the emotions?
Playing games occupies us and, if the game is good and the atmosphere of playing it with other people is welcoming, we end up with all of our senses fully engaged and focused on the game. This means that they help us put our problems and worries aside and fully enjoy the moment.
Stress can be a real threat to our mental and physical health. While there are many ways of dealing with it, board and card games should definitely be on your list.
Board Games Improve Our Health
By reducing the levels of experienced stress, board, card, and conversational games are already making a positive contribution to our overall health.
But, let’s get more specific.
Unlike with many other things in life, the more you use your brain, the more powerful it becomes. Playing board games and exercising the mind strengthens the synaptic connections, especially “the important ones” in the prefrontal region. This reduces the chances of cognitive impairment.
There is scientific proof that, in the long run, board games reduce the odds of dementia, but they also appear to be useful for combating depression and positively contribute to healthy aging. Various newly developed games promote a healthy lifestyle, create opportunities for meaningful conversations, and focus on mental health in general.
Finally, card and board games have therapeutic effects on our mental health for another proximal reason:
Card Games Make Us Feel Connected
Whether you’re playing a game in a team or as a single player, most board games involve complex social reasoning, decision making, collaboration, healthy competition, but also improving our emotional regulation and helping us deal with loss with more grace.
You can observe and learn so much about another person you are playing games with. And the moment of fun and awareness two people share together can bring them closer together even if they’re total strangers.
Apart from that, games that are carefully designed to bring people closer together and help them spike engaging conversations and mindful reflections can significantly enhance our social and emotional intelligence, and help us open up and share our authentic feelings. Think of them as a therapy and networking, but in a more entertaining and friendly way.
This is what Let’s Get Closer and Let’s Get Closer: Table Talk games are all about––creating a welcoming atmosphere for deep conversations. These easy-to-play prompt card games, based on positive language principles and questions that move us, cultivate relationships by engaging friends, family members, couples, or even those who have just met in deep and meaningful conversations.
Friends and Family Board Games Night
Everything we discussed so far leads us to one conclusion: we need to make board and card games great again. Disconnect from our screens, organize a proper meaningful games night with our friends, and experiment with different types of games: more collaborative, multiplayer, creativity-enhancing, bonding, etc. It will give you an opportunity to have fun and connect in a positive way.
Even if there are only two partners living together, they can still reconnect and have fun over a game of plain cards. But, it gets even better if they decide to explore their relationship by playing prompt card games dedicated to getting to know each other on a deeper level and improving their relationship.
Turn your team lunch, family dinner, or weekend meal with friends into inspiring, entertaining, and deep conversations by playing prompt card games and asking questions that matter most in life. What will you discover?