Surprising Benefits of Playing Card Games

Family plays a card game

You might haven't realized yet what playing card games has done to you from the day you discovered it. Just like most players, you only consider it as a way to pass the time. It also offers good company while having a drink with your friends in the bar to prolong the conversation. You probably use it to bond with your kids when nothing else is to do on lazy Sunday evening.

According to the book "The Theory of Play" by Mitchell and Mason, play is essential to develop higher intelligence. Unlike other living creatures, we don't have perfected instincts to respond automatically to every situation. We boost our intelligence by constantly feeding and training our brains to think. Playing card games can do just that – train your brain to think of different strategies to win.

This blog will cover the benefits of playing card games in our complete well-being. These advantages are easily relatable since you experience them yourself, while the rest might surprise you in a good way.

Mental Exercise

Old people playing cards

The brain only weighs three pounds, but this mass contains an intricate network of cells responsible for our intelligence. Protected by the skull and fluid, it is the central hub of all the qualities that make us unique from other species.

Our brain cells deteriorate as we get old, leading to the decline of our cognitive ability. A healthy diet and a balanced lifestyle can help keep the brain healthy, but you need activities to keep your brain active for a sharp memory.

Playing card games makes your brain work, like other mental games like solving word puzzles, board games, and chess. People of all ages can benefit from this, especially the elderly. In a study published at the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, the results show that students learn more when the lessons are presented in card games. Participants performed better in their class than those who did not participate.

To be clear, playing cards have not been shown to prevent brain diseases like Alzheimer's. However, according to Keith Josephs of the Mayo Clinic, it is known to delay the onset of their symptoms. That delay means a lot for the patient and his family to have more time reminiscing memories together.

Makes You Happy

Happy old ladies at play

Loneliness can enslave anyone and lead to serious mental health problems like depression. According to a research study done by Cigna, a global health services company, three in five Americans feel lonely. The good news is that playing social card games is an outlet to make people feel happy.

It's also an opportunity for shy people to gain new friends to confide in their feelings. Playing cards lowers stress levels and increases endorphins, aka happy hormones. And when you're happy and laugh more, your whole body feels better.

As the saying goes, "laughter is the best medicine." This maxim is based on scientific studies which confirm that happiness is beneficial to our health. For instance, Dr. Bowen White of the National Institute of Play said that laughing improves the vascular system. When you laugh, your body releases dopamine which causes the blood pressure to go down.

Relaxes Your Mind and Body

Friends playing cards

If you're looking for a way to detach yourself from work or any obligation without spending a lot, playing cards with your friends is highly recommended.

When you're focused on winning a card game, you divert your attention from your stressors even for just a while. A deep level of concentration that you engage in when you play results in clearer thinking and a cheerful disposition. When you play Spades, for instance, it will not resolve your problems, but it definitely enables you to relax and reset your brain to face another day.

Play with a real deck rather than using a gadget to fully achieve this benefit. The natural light is way better than the screen light. This helps in relaxing your eyes too.

Learn New Skills

Grandfather teaches his grandson how to play a card game

People who are not into cards think that the game doesn't entail any skill. This isn't true, as many card games need the talent to win.

There are different card games, and each game involves specific skills. As you learn new games, you'll develop another skill. Learning something new stimulates your brain cells which cause a spike in neural pathways. Aside from this, studies show that learning a new skill makes the white matter in the brain denser, resulting in improved performance on many tasks. With these findings, we can infer that playing various card games makes our brain healthier.

Improves Your Traits

Family playing cards

You may not know it yet, but you make yourself a better person by playing cards because it improves your patience and discipline.

If you're a competitive person to the extent that you hate losing, card games will teach you how to humble yourself when you don't win. You can use it as a medium for controlling your temper and taking the loss lightly. Remind yourself that losing is part of the game.

If you know that losing can make you aggressive and violent, play cards only for fun, not for gambling. Have yourself surrounded by friends or family members to remind you that it's just a game. You don't have to win every time to enjoy it. Perhaps, it will be more fulfilling if you intentionally let yourself lose to see your kids' reaction when they beat you.

Some games last for hours which helps in developing your patience and discipline. If you're playing with contenders of equal or higher skill levels, you have to remain calm all the time to keep your focus in tack. Concentration demands a lot of discipline if you really want to win. Without it, you might likely make wrong moves and end up losing.

Strengthen Relationships

Old couple playing cards

The digital age presents many problems. One of them is not getting enough quality time with your family to enjoy each other's company. You and your children might be busy browsing the web or playing online games, but you're not actually talking.

The result of a study "Exploring the Relationships between Internet Usage and Family Values of College Students" presents this problem. According to this paper, family problems like divorce, school, and quarrels are evident in families dependent on the internet. If you don't want these issues to plague your home, you have to find ways to limit the use of technology.

This is where playing cards can come in. You can play many card games even with kids as young as 7 years old. They are fun, easy to play, and inexpensive. Specialized cards designed for children also help your young ones develop their brains and character.

You can also play cards with your co-workers during breaks. A play culture at work is a good way of team building. It will help you and your colleague understand each other, essential for increased productivity and a harmonious working relationship.