How Playing Pokemon Helps With Emotional Regulation

You may find this hard to believe at first, but playing Pokemon can help with emotional regulation in several ways. This article provides a serious rationale for why playing Pokemon can be beneficial in your life, or the life of your children.

Reinforced Goals

The primary way playing a role-playing game (RPG) like Pokemon helps is that it provides a structured, goal-oriented activity. This works in two ways. First, progressing towards goals is a functional and deeply rooted way for people to achieve feelings of happiness and self-worth in a socially appropriate way. Second, the time dedication involved in playing games that involve grinding and continued effort act as a distraction from negative emotions and feelings, while also providing a sense of accomplishment. When focused on a task, people are less likely to ruminate (focus their attention) on negative thoughts or emotions. Completing goals in the game, such as catching certain Pokemon or defeating opponents, provides a sense of accomplishment, which can boost self-esteem and improve mood.

Critical Thinking

Playing Pokemon involves decision-making, which starts at the very beginning of the game when you choose your starter from the 3 available options. Behaviorally, this is the perfect number of choices, as having 2 options is a forced choice and more than 3 is typically overwhelming. Most Pokemon games come out in pairs, so even buying both versions results in only being able to choose 2 of the 3 options. As you play you must decide which Pokemon to use in battle or which moves to use, as these choices make your journey easier or harder. This teaches players to learn advantages and disadvantages, when to use them, and how to adapt quickly.

Additionally, along the way, you must continually make choices that are long-lasting throughout the game. This can help teach children how to think through problems and consider the consequences of their actions. This is beneficial for developing problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities, which are helpful for managing emotions.

Emotional Role Play

The characters in Pokemon often face challenges and emotions similar to those experienced by the player. For example, a Pokemon character may face a difficult opponent or have to deal with feelings of frustration or disappointment. By identifying with these characters and seeing how they cope with their emotions, children can learn strategies for managing their own emotions. This provides a way for the player to identify with and learn from the characters. Creating a healthy and guided way to experience emotional situations with simulated natural consequences.

Social Interactions

Whether playing with friends in person or online, Pokemon can provide a sense of connection and support, which can be helpful for managing emotions. Social support is important for emotional well-being, and playing Pokemon with others can provide a fun and engaging way to connect with others and form supportive relationships. You typically see this socialization extend to other Pokemon-related activities, such as the trading card game which is frequently/typically more of an in-person social interaction among 2-people or a small group of people. Additionally, you begin to build socially significant experiences that are shared by peers, which create stronger bonds in the future.

This is exampled by most pop culture trends. Think about the video games, styles of dress, favorite musicians, or games you played as a child. Now think about how you feel when you meet other adults that share these experiences and memories. Typically, you will automatically feel closer and more engaged with interacting with them.

In Summation

Playing Pokemon may seem like an insignificant children’s game, but it teaches the important life skill of Emotional Regulation through emotional role play, increasing social interaction, and reinforcing goals through guided progress. While also developing necessary critical thinking skills.


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