Pokémon Go, which enables people to "catch" Pokémon during everyday experiences in the real world, has had a positive impact on users' mental health, according to many new users.
The free game, which was released on Wednesday for iOS and Android devices, has received immense positive feedback on social media for encouraging people to get out of their homes and experience the world:
Pokemon Go is literally making people with depression and anxiety and agoraphobia leave the house and explore the world and socialise.— Yo! (@jasonjarmoosh) July 8, 2016
Some people are citing potential physical benefits of the game as well. However, others have complained that the servers are overloaded and malfunctioning as a result:
Tumblr users have said that the game has motivated them to get out of bed, which can often be a struggle for those suffering from depression:
"[H]onestly Pokemon go is probably going to help a lot with people who have depression," wrote Tumblr user The Awesome Adventurer. "[B]ecause rather than laying in bed all day we are getting up and going outside and actually enjoying ourselves."
Research has shown that walking and spending time in nature can improve one's mental health.
A 2015 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a small group of people who walked around in nature for 90 minutes showed a reduction in negative thinking. However, the researchers asked a second group of people to walk in the city, and the people who walked around in the city demonstrated no change in their negative thinking.
In 2014, the Journal of Experimental Psychology published a study that found a connection with walking and creative thinking. The researchers found that "compared with an urban walk, a walk in nature restored people’s previously exhausted attentional capacities, resulting in improved performances at difficult tasks when no longer walking. There are also additional calming effects."