The World Health Organization (WHO) officially added “gaming disorder” in the International Classification of Diseases in 2018 after four years of active study.
Like any other addiction or disorder, it can be difficult to quit the habit once a person gets hooked to playing computer games. However, a young Greek woman who played computer games for an average of 16 hours a day was struggling to break out of this shell; eventually, she found her path to “de-addiction” in an ancient self-improvement practice.
Overcoming Gaming Addiction
Sofia, who now resides in Australia, became addicted to computer games in 2004; her gaming “addiction” lasted for almost eight long years. The gaming obsession would make her spend more and more time in front of the computer, even playing up to 16 hours of games a day.
Knowing that playing computer games for such long hours can have drastic health effects, Sofia tried to quit but couldn’t.
“I tried many times to give it up, but I didn’t have enough willpower to control myself and pull myself out of it,” she told Minghui.org.
Sofia used to be interested in a variety of things, including amateur dramatics, running and dancing. However, she gave up all her interests in order to focus on playing computer games. When she migrated to Australia with her husband, little did she know that her life was about to change for the better.
In 2012, her colleague introduced her to an ancient mind-body cultivation practice called Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa). The practice, rooted in the Buddhist tradition, consists of moral teachings and five sets of exercises, including meditation.
“I was so excited … I was determined to use the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to guide me in my daily life,” she said.
However, Sofia said she had never stopped thinking about playing computer games. But when she played computer games this time, she experienced something had changed in the way she perceived the gaming obsession—she no longer thought the games were as addictive as before.
“I played the games again after I started practicing Falun Dafa, but I found this time my addiction wasn’t that strong, and gradually I lost interest in them,” she said.
“If I played again, I would feel a sharp pain in my eyes, and my body felt terrible. I decided to quit playing them altogether.”
Sofia even shared her experience with her friends, and many of them decided to follow Sofia’s footsteps and quit playing a few months later.
“I’m not interested in playing games anymore,” she said.
According to Minghui.org, there are several people who naturally quit playing computer games after practicing Falun Gong.
For instance, Lei Ching-wei, a graduate of Chung Chou University of Science and Technology, Taiwan, said that practicing Falun Gong helped him to remove his addiction to playing games.
“I’m now clear-minded and feel energized. My grades also improved,” he said.
Hike Opfermann, a Falun Gong adherent from Germany, used to be addicted to playing online games. However, he decided to quit playing computer games after he began practicing this cultivation system of mind and body.
Mending Strained Relationships
Not only did practicing Falun Gong help Sofia to kick her addiction, but she said that the practice’s moral teachings also improved her strained relationships with her family members.
Sofia said after she followed Falun Gong’s moral principles of “considering others first” and “being selfless,” she realized that she couldn’t get along with her parents because of her bad temper and selfishness. She recalled how she would complain and quarrel with her mother in Greece where they ran their family business. Sofia added that her relationship with her dad became strained after he divorced her mother.
“My mom always thought of me in a negative way,” she said. “I thought my family was keeping me from being happy and wanted to destroy my life.”
“I moved to Australia with my husband and just wanted to escape from my family,” she added.
After she took up Falun Gong, Sofia strived to adhere to the practice’s moral principles, and her mother soon changed her attitude toward her. Sofia even forgave her father, whom she had not talked to for three years, and took the initiative to contact him.
“Our relationship has returned to normal,” Sofia said. “I have given up all the painful memories, and no longer hate anyone.”
“I am so lucky to practice Falun Dafa. I tell myself not to hurt people and not to always look for their faults. I should be more responsible for myself and the people I know,” she said.
It is not an easy task to change a person’s perception of fellow beings, but Sofia said she was able to improve her relations because her mindset and perspective changed. She credited the positive changes to Falun Gong’s spiritual teachings that are rooted in the universal values of truth, compassion, tolerance.
“Falun Dafa has completely changed me,” she said. “My mind has become clear, strong, and honest. Our life together has become more relaxed and full of compassion, wisdom, and hope.”