Life can be so stressful at times. Surely you have been through the never-ending list of chores that you need to do after you get back home from work. Or, in case you are currently a student you have experienced the considerable stress that comes with carrying out research, completing assignments and studying for exams. Most people experience stress levels that are beyond what is acceptable, and as a result there are various repercussions that often result, ranging from anxiety and nervousness to sadness and depression.
It is therefore critical that you learn to cope with such stressful situations by making it a point to indulge in activities that can help you rest and unwind. This is crucial for your health and wellbeing. There are a range of activities that can help you to do this, including physical activities and exercises, meditation, gardening, listening to music or engaging in crafts and handiwork. But did you ever consider that you could play games? Indeed, studies have shown that playing online games can greatly help in reducing stress levels.
Here are some reasons why:
- While playing a game your brain will be encouraged to secrete dopamine. This is one of the body’s natural hormones that promotes a feeling of happiness and wellbeing.
- Besides the feelings of enjoyment and happiness you get from the dopamine hormone, there is also what is referred to as the Triumph circuit. This is a psychological pattern which basically allows us to feel really good because we have overcome a particular challenge. Since games are fraught with challenges you can thus acquire a sense of satisfaction when you play, not to mention a feeling of accomplishment and competence, which are great against stress.
- If you are engrossed in an activity, in this case, a game, you will feel a sense of enjoyment and engagement that will in turn reduce any stress.
- Online games can also be played with friends. By doing so you will also be benefiting as you will be engaged in a collaborative spirit and feel connected with others.
- Gaming has also been proven to help the player to enter what is referred to as a flow state. This offers benefits similar to what you can acquire if you engage in meditation. This is because your mind is so engrossed with the game you are playing that you will not even be thinking about anything else. Your mind can thus become focused on the game only.
- While playing a game you will be able to keep your mind off whatever might be troubling you or causing you stress.
- Games offer instant rewards. This instant gratification is great for stress relief too.
- Certain games help you improve your brain power or certain abilities. For instance even a simple game such as a puzzle or a crossword will encourage you to think. The more games you play the more you will become a quick thinker, and this can help you deal with stressful situations in day to day life much better.
Contrary to the misconception that used to be quite commonly quoted and believed, research conducted quite recently has concluded that even violent games do not contribute to feelings of aggressiveness, but rather they can too help in reducing stress levels. This is because even if there is a spike in adrenaline, this goes back to normal within a couple of minutes. Moreover, the feel good factor associated with accomplishing certain goals is still present in most of these games, such as Mr Bullet Ricochet Gun Shooter, for instance.
The best games to promote stress relief are those where a player is able to collaborate with other players, rather than against each other. These games help to increase social interaction too since very often there are also chat rooms where you can discuss and socialize with other players. Many people struggle due to introversion and thus this is a great way to allow them to make friends, chat and benefit from social interactions, even if they are carried out virtually.
There are also certain genres that can help in managing stress quite well, such as games that encourage you to create something, such as draw a picture, build a village or make music. Such games also stimulate creativity. Popular examples of these games include Draw In Picture Drawing Game and Dunk Line Basketball Game.
There are even some games which are specifically intended to teach stress management skills. These games are not that common, but there are some around which make use of finger sensors, or headbands that can offer the player the possibility to relax and meditate while playing. Champions of the Shengha is one such highly recommended game that offers such an opportunity.
Most games have certain goals to be completed, such as various levels, or strategy and planning to overcome certain obstacles. As you overcome such challenges you will feel enthusiastic and with a sense of achievement. This will boost your self-confidence and make you feel better.
While there are numerous ways to help reduce stress, many used to think that playing games on a computer, or nowadays, on a mobile device, was not one of them. However, as we discussed here, and as supported by various studies, online games can indeed be a great way to manage stress. Online games can be considered as being one of the cheap forms of entertainment at home that can help you feel much better after a long day at work or school!
In fact you may not even have to download and spend anything as there are thousands of free online games that you could browse on the internet and play directly on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Needless to say, there are certain sites that specialize in offering these games either for free or for very minimal fees. There is something for everyone and anyone online and surely you will be spoilt for choice as you try to choose which one to start playing, and once you have completed a game there are so many others to try out! It is indeed an endless journey of variety, enjoyment and fun, which ultimately, reduce stress and make you feel much better!