• William Careri

Minecraft Helps My Anxiety

I would like to preface this by saying I had not played Minecraft until this past month. I was always aware of it's existence, but never had the desire to play it all that much, mostly because I thought it was for kids, eventually becoming a meme in pop culture.

A few weeks ago, I wanted to try something new, creative wise. I was joking around with my roommate on things I could learn. I have a strong understanding of most Adobe programs and wanted to just relax and be creative. My roommate recommended Minecraft as a joke. The joke was on him, because within 10 minutes I had purchased Minecraft on my Nintendo Switch and loaded it up.

The first 30 minutes was a matter of getting a feel for the controls and game mechanics. It didn't take long, however, until I saw just how encapsulating this game was. I played in Creative Mode, which means there's no real objective other than build whatever you please out of the dozens of items they give you. The alternative was Survival Mode, where you build while fighting off in-game monsters, but I didn't have an interest in that.

Within just the first hour of playing, I was hooked. After a few more hours, I noticed something else; Minecraft was having an effect on my anxiety. More specifically, Minecraft had soothed my anxiety, and after much thought, I figured out why.

My life, like many of you, is structured in deadlines. A deadline for a project, for a bill that has to be paid, or other responsibilities. Since there are so many deadlines, structure has to exist in order to meet these deadlines. In Minecraft, there are no deadlines. There are no limits. There is no correct way or wrong way to be creative. In turn, stress, a major trigger for my anxiety, wasn't there while I played.

As many of you know, I freelance as a logo and graphic designer. Unfortunately, there are still limits and guidelines to this creative outlet. I am still abiding to the rules of design, still having to meet deadlines and meet client specifications, all of which is making it feel less creative. Since I've started to play Minecraft, I've been able to create once again without boundaries and limits.

One of my favorite Minecraft creators is GeminiTay. I reached out to her on Twitter, asking if she had a similar experience and why she enjoyed creating in Minecraft. "Minecraft is a fantastic escape, it allows endless creativity," GeminiTay said. "You get to create your own stories and art within the game, and share that with others who enjoy it. Anything is possible. I love that the game has no real end, it can go on for as long as you wish to play it, and go wherever your imagination wants."

Minecraft isn't my first video game, but it is the first game.I played that allowed me to completely de-stress. I play games like Pokemon and Celeste as a way to escape, but those games occasionally cause stress, having to meet certain goals in order for the story to continue, like many other . As I mentioned above, in Minecraft, there are no deadlines or goals you have to complete in order to move on.

For me, Minecraft is no different that just drawing on a piece of paper, which is equally as relaxing. Minecraft is a new creative outlet that I'm learning and I can't wait to share what I create in the future with all of you!