Aren't video games fantastic?
You turn on your computer, load your game, and it provides hours of entertainment that you can treasure for the rest of your life.
Video games keep your mind busy, they stop you from having negative or anxious thoughts, and instead let you explore alternative worlds!
What could ever be bad about this?
Video game designers figured out pretty quickly that the human brain loves video games for basically one reason: it loves to feel like it earned something.
And now video games are centered around this concept: how to convince gamers that the game is important, and that putting forth a good effort is important, so that when the reward comes, the brain can actually appreciate it as real and valuable.
Video game designers got so good at this, that a lot of people make video games a big part of their lives.
And this is the way life should be - when you feel motivated, you work hard, and you are rewarded with money, social status, food, and everything that you deserve for your effort.
Everywhere we look, we see the product of the work of other humans. We built this whole world, just because it made us feel good!
But video games provide "special" work that our brains love to digest. They present work that is easy for people with limited attention.
Trust me I remember how good it felt (at the time) to play LoL all weekend...
Without a good attention, if you have a negative thought, you can't analyze that thought and think "This thought isn't helpful, perhaps there are more useful things to think about."
Instead, each negative thought becomes very real and extremely painful.
Without a good attention, when you are in a depressed mood, you can get into thought loops where you keep thinking about how nothing will ever get better, and how life is meaningless anyway since we're all going to die.
If you don't develop the skill of observing your own thoughts, over time you can convince yourself that everything is either horrible or pointless.
However, if you had a good attention, you could realize, "You know, I'm having a lot of negative thoughts, maybe I'm not living in the present moment, because around me, nothing that catastrophic is currently happening..."
While you are feeling good, working towards the goal they present - your mind diverts more and more thought towards this reward, because it feels better the harder you are working, because you win in the game when you work hard.
You feel miserable because you can't redirect your negative thoughts or make fast progress in real life,
Leading to a bad feeling that you can't control! Which always goes away if you play more video games...
It's easy to get frustrated if you don't have control of your attention.
It is healthy to be focused on the present, to be aware of your body, and to be aware of your surroundings.
It is healthy to be able to redirect your focus when you realize your thoughts are not helpful.
It is not healthy to instinctively play video games to make yourself feel better.