Science Says Playing Mahjong Could Help with Depression

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Flex that brain.

According to a new study from the University of Georgia, a simple game of mahjong can help with boosting mental health.

Similar to the Western card game rummy, mahjong is a popular tile-based strategy game that involves skill, calculation and a degree of chance. In the study, mahjong was one of several types of social participation events linked to “reduced rates of depression among middle-aged and older adults in China.”

Associate professor of health policy and management at UGA’s College of Public Health and study co-author, Adam Chen, said that “Global economic and epidemiologic trends have led to significant increases in the burden of mental health among older adults, especially in the low- and middle-income countries.”

Poor mental health is a big issue in China and a lot of it is linked to social isolation and loneliness, especially in a country like China where growth and expansion never stops.

When participating in social activities such as mahjong, researchers found that participating in a wide variety of activities more frequently was associated with better mental health. Other types of social participation include visiting friends, participating in a sport or social club, and volunteering in the community.

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