Social Anxiety and Board Gaming

As I mentioned in my introduction post, one of the main reasons that I’m really into board gaming (other than it’s fun and I like to really stretch my mind) is that I have social anxiety, and it’s a good way for me to connect with other gamers. How does that work, though? Are there considerations that I have looked at and does it really help a lot?

My social anxiety is one that makes socializing difficult for me at first. So, if there is someone that I really want to try and get to know, a board game is actually a great way for me to do it. As you likely know, making friends as an adult is really hard for people, because they don’t have the constant contact of having people right there like you did when you were going through school and college. Think about how difficult that can be, and then multiply it by 10 and you’ve got the way that people with social anxiety function.

For example, when I moved here to Virginia, one of the things that I really needed to focus on was the fact that I wanted to make new friends. Sarah and I got involved at a wonderful church in Harrisonburg, and we started to make some friends there. One of them friended me on Facebook and noticed that I was posting a lot of pictures of my board games on there. She then shared with me that her family liked Lords of Waterdeep, which (as you likely remember), I list as one of my favorite games. Needless to say, that developed into a whole conversation, and we ended up having a game night together with her husband and another church friend. We have become really close with them now, which is great. We’ll be doing another game night soon!

Also, silence makes me awkward at times. With social anxiety, your mind starts listing all of these scenarios and you get freaked out that things are not going the way that you hoped that they would be. Having something common to talk about and gather around helps to eliminate that silence, and even if we get quiet during a game, it’s usually because we’re thinking about what we need to do, and that’s not awkward to me.

Another reason is because it actually gets me out of the house! When you work from home, like I do, you will find that it can be quite difficult to push yourself to go places when you really don’t like dealing with people. But, you bring board games into the mix? I’m a lot more likely to talk to others and to see what is going on with them if I have a board game as “common ground” so to speak.

In short, I know that it helps my social anxiety a whole lot! And did you know that there is actually quite a bit of proof that it really helps you to get what you need? I read some of this study, and I think that this field could be really expanded on. Some people will actually utilize board games as a type of play therapy for adults, which is a really neat way to get things done. I know that there are other studies out there, as well – but let me tell you, my personal experience is definitely proof that it can help.

What do you think about this topic? Have you seen board games help your mental health in various ways? And how have you used it to help others with their mental health? Let us know in the comments or on our social media!

Game On!
Marti

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