How Playing Video Games Help Relieve Stress

There are an abundance of video games out on the market. Games are all around us, on our smartphones, smart TV’s, apps that we’re using, and on many other handheld devices. People of all ages, from children to the elderly, love to engage in video games. Many play for fun and as a way to pass time, but many do not realize the positive effects that playing video games can have on the mind and body. Video games have been linked to reducing stress and anxiety. Adults constantly have to deal with stress and fatigue from work and everyday life, and children sometimes endure stress and anxiety from school and abnormal home life. So, it’s no wonder that casual video game play results in relaxation and overall a better quality of life. Here’s how playing video games can help relieve stress.

Acts as meditation

Mindful meditation can help improve focus and attention, cognitive flexibility, reduces stress and anxiety, and puts your brain on autopilot.

Hands holding mobile game
Hands holding mobile game

Mindful meditation is a process designed to help you focus on the present instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Believe it or not, this practice is what many gamers are unknowingly achieving while solving puzzles and combating villains. Because most games are usually a small series of achievable tasks, they’re ideal for attaining and maintaining a flow state. Research has shown that if you’re not into mindful meditation, mobile games can relax you and help you recover from a long day, just as much as mindfulness apps.

A break from life’s demands

Games are a way for you to take your mind off things, which can be a great thing when you’re feeling burnt out from life’s everyday demands. Games that are challenging and that require a lot of thinking, allow you to focus on something else instead of focusing on your own problems. Since games provide instant gratification, playing games can help when struggling with setbacks and disappointments. Playing and winning can really help create a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction. It’s because of this that many CEO’s and CFO’s take frequent breaks from work on a daily basis to play video and brain games.

A creative outlet

Everyone needs to practice creativity, however, finding ways to creatively express ourselves can be challenging. Open-ended games such as Minecraft and Fortnite can be great creative outlets because they allow players to build and manipulate the game world to make fun and unique creations. If you feel like you’re not being able to express yourself, have writer’s block, or simply need to get your creative juices flowing, try taking a break and playing a game for a few minutes.

Release of dopamine

Playing games releases dopamine, which is also known as the happiness hormone. Whenever we do something fun or that gets us excited, such as eating a delicious food or accomplishing something for the first time, our brain releases this hormone. Everyone needs positive things in their life to happen, however, for everyone, it just isn’t possible. Video games are a great, inexpensive way to uplift you and put you in a better mood.

Man wearing virtual reality headset
Man wearing virtual reality headset

Playing video games frequently can aid you in recharging before going out and facing the real world again. Another way that dopamine is released is by exercising. Playing active games on Wii Fit requires you to move your body and gets you off the couch. This is not only exercise, but this can reduce stress and help improve your mood. Even low-impact exercises up endorphins and helps you feel more energized and rejuvenated.

Social interaction

As humans, we are social beings and need to connect with others. Connecting and bonding with friends has been linked to reducing stress levels. Mobile gaming creates a safe, social environment that promotes interaction with others. Playing games online, especially anonymously, can really allow introverts to comfortably connect with others. It makes connecting feel possible, when they may experience difficulty engaging face-to-face in the real word. Playing games online with people you’ve never even met can be really fun as you get to share interests with like-minded individuals.

Playing games is such a great way to relieve stress and anxiety, and it even helps combat depression. When I need to take my mind off of the stresses of the world and relax, I usually spin a wheel online or get real creative building things on my Xbox. These things really help me focus and provide a way for me to relax and ease my mind. If I didn’t partake in these games as a way to help me destress, I don’t know what I’d turn to. Playing games is a simple, yet very effective way to calm yourself and just breathe for a moment.