17/11/2022 / Mental Health and Wellness

Mental health benefits of playing card games

Playing card games is a fun activity and a good way to pass the time, but it is also an excellent exercise for your brain, no matter how old you are.

Mental health benefits of playing card games
Dr. Jilas PaingeeriDr. Jilas Paingeeri
Dr. Jilas Paingeeri
Dental Surgeon, Research Associate
Medically Cited
Fact Checked

Table of Content


Card games commonly use cards of similar sizes and shapes to play the game. Different card games are available for people of all age groups and situations. Though card games sound like a fun pastime activity, it has numerous emotional, educational, and mental health benefits.

The conversations and interactions that develop over a card game will help to strengthen the bonds and relationships between people. Memory card games for kids allow them to improve their brain function. Card games can enhance critical and strategic thinking, logical reasoning, life skills, etc.

Mental health benefits of playing card games in adults

Mental health benefits of playing card games in adults

1. Improve social interactions

Card games are the best way to socialize with other people. The interactions during the game can improve your relationship and connection with other people. The friendly conversations and healthy competition during the card games can leave the person in a good mood even after the game ends. These interactions can reduce the chances of mental disorders like depression and anxiety.

2. Improve patience and observation skills

Card games are a fun way to enhance observation skills and improve patience. Most card games are multiplayer games. Thus, each player must follow the game's rules, wait for their turn, and simultaneously observe the cards the opponents play closely to win the game. Card games are a fun way to enhance observation skills and improve patience.

3. Relaxes your mind

Mental stress could lead to many other health problems if not appropriately managed. Though not a complete solution for mental stress, card games help to relax your mind and relieve stress. While playing card games, the mind will be busy focusing on the next moves and building strategies to win the game. 

4. Boost memory skills

Card games are a fun way to boost memory skills. During the game, one may have to memorize the cards and the moves made. The player uses the memory to play the best card when it's their turn to win the game. 

A study conducted at Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute revealed a significant brain volume in different regions of the brain in people who played card games. Improved memory and thinking lower the risk of developing dementia.

5. Keep the brain sharp

Card games are good exercise for the brain, no matter how old you are. Players have to follow a specific set of rules in every card game. Thus it makes the players use their cognitive skills like attention, memory, logic and reasoning, processing, etc.

6. Grow a positive mindset

Card games grow a positive mindset, making positive thinking a habit. The healthy conversations and the spirit of the game fill the mind with joy and excitement. There is no room for other negative thoughts.

7. Awake the happy hormones

Playing card games with loved ones can cause the release of hormones like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin. These happy hormones improve concentration, mood, pleasure, and happiness, thus reducing the chances of anxiety and depression.

8. Build self-esteem

The happy hormones promote happiness and pleasure and positively affect an individual's attitude. Studies suggest that playing card games consistently can develop positive thoughts in people with low self-esteem and help them to become self-confident and secure. 

9. Develop emotional intelligence

Card games make people understand and manage their emotions. During a card game, the players have to make decisions that affect the outcome of the card game. Many card games are designed for psychological purposes, making players understand and name their emotions.

10. Makes the mind flexible and adaptable

Unpredictable card games like UNO encourage the players to go with the flow and sometimes make them play out of their comfort zone.

Mental health benefits of playing card games in children

Mental health benefits of playing card games in children

Card games for kids teach them alertness, hand-eye coordination, and agility.

1. Develop cognitive skills in children 

Most card games for children focus on numbers, patterns, color recognition, memorizing, and matching. The card games have different difficulty levels, from easy to hard. Increasing the difficulty level makes the kids use their intellect more to find a solution in multiple ways to win the game. They also engage the child’s skills related to probability and statistics. 

2. Develop social skills in kids

Children play card games with their friends, siblings, or parents and often play in familiar surroundings like home or school. In these situations, the children are motivated to participate, observe, and interact with others by playing a healthy and friendly game. 

The games make children communicate with each other, understand the rules, learn to take their turns, challenge each other healthily, and accept that they may lose. Helping players in the team and being honest in games are other emotional benefits that students learn from card games.

3. Develop motor and emotional skills

Card games help to develop eye-hand coordination and agility. Starting from examining the playing cards, holding them in hand, and using their hand to lay the card down all help children improve these two motor skills. 

The children learn to communicate, help each other, take their turns, follow the rules, be honest, work in a group, achieve goals and manage a loss.  

War, Crazy Eights, Rummy, Bridge, and Go Fish are classic card games suitable for children. 

Drawbacks of playing card games

Drawbacks of playing card games

Card games have numerous effects on mental health. At the same time, it has some drawbacks too. 

1. Card games can be addictive

Card games can be very addictive. Playing card games with your friends and loved ones are harmless, but it is not healthy when card games stop a person from returning to their commitments.

2. Time-consuming

Most card games need multiple players. It would take time for all the players to take turns and complete the game. 

3. Develop negative behaviors

Card games are fun and harmless when it is not an addiction. When a person is obsessed with the game or has the urge to win it, it may force them to cheat. Especially when card games involve money, people tend to develop undesirable behavior.

Take-Home points

  • Card games are enjoyed by everyone, no matter how old you are. Card games have numerous effects on mental health. In adults, card games help make the mind flexible and adaptable, awaken the happy hormones, keeps the brain sharp, boost memory, and improve observational skills.

  • Card games that involve memorizing and recognizing the cards' pattern, number, and color help the kids develop their cognitive skills. Card games also allow kids to build social skills and learn valuable virtues.

  • Card games can be addictive and time-consuming, which are considered the game's major drawbacks. The obsession with the game and the urge to win the game can result in the development of undesirable effects on mental health.


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