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The best video games and sports for your mental health

By Halls 15 May 2024

A game a day keeps the doctor away

In an era where mental health awareness is on the rise, finding enjoyable and effective ways to manage stress, anxiety, and depression is more important than ever. Amongst the usual therapeutic activities, video games and sports stand out for their unique benefits (though video games have a much worse rep, don't believe the hate!). Let's explore why they are good for your mental health and our top recommendations for you to try.

The benefits of gaming and sports

Engaging in video games can offer an immersive escape, providing a sense of achievement, improving cognitive skills, and fostering social connections in multiplayer environments. Like any activity or hobby, you have to balance it with all the other aspects of your life but this can be easily achieved by partnering it up with sports.

Similarly, sports not only improve physical health but also boost your mood, increase self-esteem, and promote teamwork and communication. Finding the right one for you is key to how beneficial they will be though and the only way to do that is by trying them out. Here are the ones we'd recommend trying first.

Videogames we'd recommend

Stardew Valley

This charming farming simulator offers a peaceful escape to the countryside, where players can grow crops, raise animals, and build relationships with townsfolk. Its relaxing gameplay encourages creativity and can help ease stress.

The Legend of Zelda series
Exploring the vast world of Hyrule can be a breathtaking experience that stimulates problem-solving and strategic thinking. Getting stuck into this adventure series is the perfect form of escapism, helping reduce anxiety and overthinking. 

Animal Crossing
With its gentle pace and friendly atmosphere, Animal Crossing allows players to create and manage their island paradise or wholesome village. The game's emphasis on social interactions and community building can combat feelings of isolation and help encourage positive social skills.

Sometimes a simple pick-up and play card game can be the perfect 5 minute distraction when you need it the most. Balatro takes the basic framework of poker and throws in fun wildcards to make a highly entertaining game you can play anywhere. It's great for improving your strategic thinking and cognitive skills.

Night in the Woods
A story-driven game that is based on the creator's real-life experiences with depression and anxiety. It tackles lots of themes we can relate to and is perfect for inexperienced first-time gamers. This interactive story can help you process the hard stuff you are dealing with in your own life, rather than letting those feelings get buried over time.

Vampire Survivor
If you want a game that will trigger all those lovely endorphins that can be played anywhere on your phone, then Vampire Survivor is for you. It's a simple concept - survive as long as possible while waves of enemies flood the screen, but it provides a very satisfying feeling every time you get a new high score. You can also play with friends, making it great for your teamworking and communication skills too.

Join the gaming society for more recommendations from the community at LSE.

Sports we'd recommend


Whether competitive or recreational, going for a run can be a powerful stress reliever. It releases endorphins, improves sleep, and provides a sense of accomplishment. Running in nature, in particular, can enhance these benefits and it's completely free!

Yoga combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation to promote mental and physical well-being. Regular practice can reduce stress, improve concentration, and enhance overall mood. Do it in the comfort of your own room or join a session for a community feel.

A low-impact exercise that is gentle on the body while offering a full-body workout and a healthy change of environment. The rhythmic nature of swimming and the sensation of being in water can have a soothing effect on the mind, helping reduce stress and anxiety.

Team Sports (Football, hockey, badminton, etc)
Participating in team sports provides a social outlet, allowing individuals to form connections and build support networks. The teamwork involved can boost confidence and foster a sense of belonging.

We have tonnes of societies/clubs based around sports that you can get involved with and get active today!

Incorporating video games and sports into your routine can be a fun and effective way to enhance your mental health. Invest time into finding what works for you and enjoy the process of exploring all these new experiences!


Mental Health,