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Replacement Activity List Made By People in Recovery for Video Game Addiction

Replacement Activity List Made By People in Recovery for Video Game Addiction

Top Replacement Activity List Developed by Mental Health Providers and Former Gamers

 

When choosing an activity, it’s all about intent

Time. It’s a commodity we all have at our disposal. For chronic online video gamers, streamers, tech users, or social media influencers, time offline feels empty and boring. This is one of the reasons why trying to replace acitivites like video gaming, Internet surfing, snap chatting, or streaming with offline activities often fails. For a heavy user, the brain rewards received by your online activity of choice far outweighs the rewards received by engaging in offline activities, even ones that should be rewarding.

Our recommendation is to plan offline activties with an intent in mind. For example, a parent might say, “go outside and play.” Sure, this is an excellent actvity for many reasons. That said, a person whose brain is highly rewarded for online video gaming may feel depressed when offline, and going outside just doesn’t seem to help them feel any better.

Having an intent behind “why” you’re doing a particular activity might make all the difference when participating in even simple activities feels challenging. Each of the activites listed in this guide have an intent behind them. Eating healthier has been shown to lead to less depression. Thus the intent behind the actvity is not only to lesson the amount of time spent online, it’s to reduce your symptoms of depression. When you feel like giving up because it feels boring, you can rise to the challenge when you understand that engaging in the activity over time will improve your mood, and help you feel better.

The following activity list is designed with the mutual intent of reducing time spent online while improving your overall well-being.

First, drop the fantasy reading

In 10 years of working with people in treatment for video game addiction, we have found that one of the first replacement activities they turn to is fantasy reading, fantasy drawing or other related activity. While we pass no moral judgement on fantasy books, or these type of activities, we do suggest for your consideration that these replacement activities are a way for the brain to continue providing the neural stimulation and rewards which was occurring while video gaming. Thus, if you really want to change your online use habits, pick up a self-help book, or engage in non-fantasy related activities.

Suggested replacement reading activities:

  • Self-help books related to ending a tech obsession
  • Read a book in a genre unfamiliar to you to build new neural pathways

 

Second, get moving

Online pursuits involve a significant amount of time being immobile; sitting, neck looking down, and body fairly still. The human body is designed to move in order to stay physically healthy. Of all the activties which promote a healthier mind and body, movement tops the list.

Activities which promote movement:

  • Start by getting outside more
  • Go for a walk
  • Eventually go for a run
  • Join a gym
  • Visit a climbing gym. Ask for a trial lesson.
  • Hit the swimming pool.

Third, start to eat healthier

Online pursuits involve a significant amount of time being immobile; sitting, neck looking down, and body fairly still. The human body is designed to move in order to stay physically healthy. Of all the activties which promote a healthier mind and body, movement tops the list.

Activities which improve healthier eating:

  • Go through your fridge and throw out all the junk
  • De-sugar your environment. 
  • Spend time reading the ingredients on your food labels. 
  • Find a recipe book with food you’ll actually cook
  • Throw out the pop, soda, and energy drinks.
  • Sign up to take a cooking class
  • Invite someone over to cook with you. Making pizza’s together is a good place to start.

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