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New Study Shows That Mahjong Actually Helps with Depression



Source: Interesting Engineering / NBC News

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Hailing from the Qing Dynasty, the Mahjong (aka Maque) is actually a stress buster according to this new research. For those who don’t know, Mahjong is a strategy game that relies on a little bit of luck and the main goal of this ancient game is to get all of “14 tiles into four sets”. These sets are mentioned below:

  • Three identical tiles/three consecutive numbers 
  • one pair of identical tiles 

Source: CBC

In a new study which was published under Social Science & Medicine, it was found that Mahjong can reduce the depression rates amongst middle-aged and older adults.

A national survey was conducted by Chen – along with other researchers from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China – on nearly 11,000 residents (rural & urban) who are 45 years old and above.

In their research, they studied the indicators of depression and compared them with “the type and frequency of social participation or activities”. Some of the types of social activities are mentioned below:

  • Visiting friends 
  • Joining a sports club 
  • Volunteering in the community 
  • Playing mahjong

Source: NBC News

Their quest was to find out which social participation helped the participants to achieve better mental health. They have also made it a point to examined the rural-urban differences as it is not commonly assessed by researchers. 

And, as a result of their research, it was discovered that urban residents who played mahjong are less likely to develop depression. Surprisingly, the research also found out that rural residents have poorer mental health compared to urban residents. Well, isn’t that peculiar? 

Source: Youtube

Commenting on the find, Chen reckoned that rural residents are more likely stressed because adults (from the rural areas) are moving to the city to work; thus, making the “community structures” at home fragile. Chen was quoted as saying,

“What is more surprising is that mahjong playing does not associate with better mental health among rural elderly respondents. One hypothesis is that Mahjong playing tends to be more competitive and at times become a means of gambling in rural China.”

Ahh, that’s a very reasonable explanation!  

Therefore, Chen hopes that this results of this research will help other people to overcome mental health issues and hopefully, it will also help improve the emotional state of people. Amazing thought! I certainly do hope that this find will help others too. 

Who knew that a game of strategy and luck could be a great stress buster? I guess I’ve got to learn how to play Mahjong now!

What are your thoughts on this research? Do you think Mahjong could a stress reliever? Let us know in the comments below.


Also read: Research: An Unhealthy Tummy Can Cause Depression, Eating Kimchi & Yogurt May Help

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