Is It Ok to Play Games in Moderation?

Today’s question comes from the #AMA thread I have going on right now and it’s about whether or not you can play games in moderation.

This is a question I get all the time and I think it comes from a place of anxiety you’re experiencing when you think about what your life will really look like without games. It’s natural to feel this anxiety in your life because quitting games is a big moment in your life.

You can also feel anxiety when it comes to the uncertainty of whether or not you’ll ever be able to play again. Even though right now you know you want to quit, games mean something to you and the idea of giving them up forever is scary.

So in my opinion, there are a few dynamics to understand when you think about this question.

First I want to talk to those who recently quit and you’re feeling anxious about whether or not you’ll be able to play again.

For you, I think it’s important that before we make any decisions about whether or not you’re going to play again (in moderation), that you complete the 90 day game quitters detox. This is what research shows you need for your brain to recalibrate back to normal dopamine sensitivity levels.

In doing the 90 day detox you give yourself an opportunity to learn about what life is like without games, you get to learn more about yourself and the role gaming plays in your life, and you get to come back to this question with more clarity.

Plus, if you can’t go 90 days without playing games you probably shouldn’t be playing games in the first place. If you want to learn more about the structural changes that can happen to your brain from excessive gaming, watch this video.

Second, whether or not you can play in moderation is something only you will ultimately know, and after you complete the 90 day detox you can consider whether or not you want to try, but I personally don’t play in moderation (other than playing Chess a little bit here and there.)

Lastly, you want to remember that we play games for specific reasons (they fulfill certain needs we have), so this isn’t really about games but why we play them. The anxiety you’re experiencing when we think about whether or not we’ll be able to play again has more to do with finding new ways to fulfill the needs we have.

By finding those in other activities (if you need ideas, click here), I found I don’t really miss gaming and other than it feeling nostalgic here and there which is normal. But by having new activities and new goals, I find I’m not really drawn to games in the same way I used to be, and instead I’m excited about the new life I’ve created for myself.

So I hope that helps and if it does, share it with someone you know who’s also struggling with this stuff.

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