Escape room

Escape Rooms and Mental Health

In a fast-moving modern age we are constantly being exposed to stressful situations whether in the workplace or in our home lives...

In a fast-moving modern age we are constantly being exposed to stressful situations whether in the workplace or in our home lives. Dealing with projects, colleagues, and management is very different than dealing with young children,  and paying the bills and the mortgage, though equally stressful. As a result, many working people feel mentally exhausted by the end of the working day. More often than not, we tend to zone out in the evenings in front of a TV watching mindless rubbish, with the brain turned to the lowest setting. 

Unfortunately, in spite of all the stress put on our shoulders during the working day, we have little prospect of relieving or de-escalating these levels in our free time. The constant repetition of work related stress, sleep disorder, and lack of prospects, can quickly lead to a pessimistic state of mind. What is clear, is that today's average employee is super stressed in all aspects of their lives. This is leading to serious issues with regard to mental health and mental well-being. If we add in the effects of covid-19 on the workplace, with many people being forced to social distance and work from home, it's no surprise that people are feeling alone and alienated.  

There have been many studies that show how the use of puzzles and riddles can help reduce the levels of stress, as well as improve a person's mental well-being. Without going into too greater detail, on the most basic level this is because it utilizes both sides of the brain. As such, this can lead to greater mental clarity as well as helping the brain to stay in top form throughout a person's life. Through focusing on mental puzzles and clues, it acts as a welcome diversion from the day to day stresses. And what better place to find a huge assortment of puzzles and clues than in an escape room game. Whether played on-site, or remotely at home, these games can certainly lead to better mental health and improve oneís mental well-being.

How Do Puzzles Help Enhance Mental Health

It's interesting to note that many healthcare professionals recommend all sorts of puzzles including word searches, word scrambles, jigsaw puzzle, Sudoku, card games, and even the Hungarian Rubik's Cube, as means of maintaining healthy brain function. Unfortunately you'll hear more about using these as a means of delaying the ageing process, when in fact they can be used throughout life, starting as a very young child and continuing into adulthood.

As youíre probably aware, the brain is made up of two hemispheres or lobes and these are responsible for many different tasks including emotions, motor functions, ways of communication,and much more. The left hemisphere is responsible for analytical functions and systematic actions, whereas the right hemisphere deals with creativity and emotions. The great thing about puzzles is that they make use of both hemispheres in order to complete the task at hand. Many other daily actions will rely on one hemisphere alone. We should also mention that once the puzzle iscompleted, the brain will release the happy reward chemical called dopamine, making the player feel more satisfied and fulfilled. 

How Do Escape Rooms Improve Mental Health

With so many people being unable to mix with their friends and work colleagues, it's easy for feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression to come to the fore. It's interesting, that though the idea of working from home seems wonderful, after almost a year many young people wish to return to the work situation in order to be around others. They are missing the human contact. Though social distancing is in place to protect us from the Covid virus, it really has caused real social distancing within communities. Essentially, humans are societal animals and crave the company and interaction of other human beings. To that end, any form of social interaction, even if it's over the internet, is better than nothing and in our current situation will certainly bring an improvement to the lives of many. 

Playing an online remote escape room game is the perfect tonic for loneliness and depression. The very nature of the gameplay encourages participants to immerse themselves in puzzles and the finding of clues in order to complete the game. Thanks to conferencing apps like zoom, people are able to be in contact with others and form genuine relationships, as their teams strive for victory. This creates a much-needed feeling of belonging and will reduce feelings of loneliness, as in some ways people are ìforcedî to interact with other players. As a result, not only are escape room games a good form of brain food, they can also perform the services of a social good during these stressful and strange times. 

The social aspect of escape room games plays an important part in the mental well-being of the players. As communication is key to solving many of the puzzles and clues, this lifts people out of their loneliness and encourages them to communicate and make and reinforce friendships. Understandably, many western governments are obsessing about vaccinations against the Covered virus and have, unfortunately, left mental health issues on the back burner. This has led to a rise in intolerance and extreme views, while at the same time, we have seen a huge decrease in the lack of empathy. 

We are not saying that playing an escape room game is going to be the cure for all present social problems. If only life were that simple. But what we are saying is that these games can be used to bring people who are alone and working remotely together in an exciting, fulfilling, and  shared activity. Western society takes great pains over physical health and yet we find, thanks to negative social mores, that mental health is rarely mentioned. It is our hope that by putting a spotlight on mental health issues that we can convince people the importance of reaching out to others. And what better way to do this than through playing an online game together.

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