Skip To Content

    Holy Shit Guys, Pokémon Go Is So Good For Your Mental Health

    Show this to anyone who won't shut up about everyone being ~attached to their phones~.

    Since Pokémon Go launched, people have been talking about how much it's helped their mental health already.

    Twitter / @JasonJarMoosh / Via Twitter: @jasonjarmoosh

    While the happiness that the game brings people pretty much speaks for itself (you get to catch POKÉMON — IN REAL LIFE), BuzzFeed Health wanted a psychologist to weigh in on what exactly makes Pokémon Go so fucking magical. And it's pretty much the perfect storm of happy-making things.

    1. First, yep — it's getting people to exercise and that's great for your mental health.

    Twitter / @OmgPokemonGo / Via Facebook: BuzzFeedHealth

    Specifically, it's exercise that doesn't feel like exercise, so it's more likely that it's going to turn into a sustainable habit you'll actually enjoy. "When exercise is a byproduct of something you enjoy and doesn’t feel like a chore, you’re more likely to do it and reap the benefits," clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior, PhD, told BuzzFeed Health.

    And those benefits include reduced stress, endorphins, and self-confidence, not to mention it can help ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

    2. Even better, it's exercise OUTSIDE. With the SUN and FRESH AIR.

    Twitter / @BrettSVergara / Via Twitter: @BrettSVergara

    So in addition to all the benefits of exercise, you're also getting all the benefits of the sun — like how it helps regulate your sleeping patterns better and calms you the eff down.

    "There's something about being outside in the open as opposed to inside four walls that is very clarifying to the brain," says Bonior. "Moving around in the fresh air is an inherently mood-boosting activity."

    3. It's an opportunity to celebrate yourself when you normally wouldn't.

    Twitter: @BrettSVergara

    You hatched an egg and it wound up being a CP 2000 Snorlax? INCREDIBLE. You doubled your normal number of steps you take in a day? HOLY SHIT. You took down a gym all on your own? YOU MAGICAL POKÉMON TRAINER, YOU.

    Seriously, self-love and self-confidence are integral to your mental health, and sometimes, reasons to celebrate yourself can feel few and far between. And then there's Pokémon Go, a magical island of big and small accomplishments we can feel can super fucking pumped about.

    4. You're probably socializing more with unexpected people and expanding your circles.

    Twitter: @UnburntWitch

    You don't have to be making new friends with strangers on the street. Chances are, you're probably spending more time with friends, coworkers, casual acquaintances and family members that you don't normally see as much.

    5. And for people who deal with social anxiety, it's pretty much the perfect low-stakes way to socialize more.

    Facebook: algebrahuxley

    Social anxiety can make you question and overthink social situations to the point that you avoid them. But with Pokémon Go, you have an easy point of connection and a goal of why you're there, which takes a ton of pressure off. "You don't have to over-focus on whether people are looking at you or overthink how to act and what to say," says Bonior.

    6. It gives you a sense of interconnectivity, community, and belonging.

    Twitter: @OmgPokemonGo

    You know how when you're out catching Pokémon and your heart kind of soars when you look around and realize that you're one of dozens of people doing it? Yeah, that constant, low-key Pokémon party is great for you.

    "We always long for connectedness and this is a big belongingness sandwich, basically," says Bonior. "There’s something inherently comforting in knowing the same things, being interested in the same things, and making the same goals as other people."

    7. If you deal with depression, it can give you the motivation to do small, difficult tasks that will make you feel better in the long run.

    Twitter: @AoifeeO

    When you can barely find the motivation to get out of bed and leave your house, the pull of something genuinely enjoyable is invaluable. "It's acting as a motivator that's bringing a lot of people over that threshold of actually getting out and about, which is huge," says Bonior.

    8. It's giving you long-term goals when maybe the last thing you wanted to think about was the future.

    Anna Borges

    Because you have to catch them all, tbh. "People might scoff at that, but there’s a larger sense of working toward something," says Bonior. "Taking little steps to work toward something bigger is always a good thing. It can teach working toward a goal or even remind you that you still can."

    9. It may even encourage you to do more things for other people or tap into your ~servicey~ side.

    Twitter: @JosephKnoop

    Places are already jumping on the opportunity to create Pokémon/volunteer crossovers, like this shelter that encourages people to walk their pups while they play. There’s something about doing something for others that is therapeutic and transformative — which is why small acts of kindness are great for mental health.

    And LOOK, we're not going to say that dropping lures is on par with volunteering, but SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS, PEOPLE.

    10. It's probably replacing some other activities that weren't the best for you.

    Netflix binges are getting replaced by Pokémon park crawls. After-work happy hours are turning into group Pokémon hunts. Lazy Sundays inside are turning into lazy Sundays in the park conveniently between a bunch of lures. Little things like that add up.

    11. It's providing little sparks of excitement and joy, tbh, which are hard to come by when everything feels shitty and dark.

    Pokémon / Via

    2016 hasn't exactly been the best year and that's not even including whatever things might be going on in your personal life. Pokémon Go might be a simple game, but it's fun and it's providing a little relief and distraction to us when we need it.


    Want to be the first to see product recommendations, style hacks, and beauty trends? Sign up for our As/Is newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form