How To Reduce Stress With Online Gaming


Modern life is known by many to be a stressful experience. A large percentage of the population experiences stress and related conditions such as depression or anxiety at times. It seems harder than ever before to maintain a healthy work-life balance and find the time to indulge in activities designed purely for mental and physical relaxation.

There are many simple activities that have been proven to relieve stress and help keep our minds and bodies healthier. The types of activity people will find relaxing may depend on their lifestyle and preferences. Physical activity, while it places stress in the immediacy on the body, can do wonders for long-term mental health. Many people swear by a daily mediation to help calm the emotions. Some like to engage in crafts, gardening, or other productive activities outside of work.

online gaming

The Link Between Video Games and Managing Stress

Several studies have identified a link between playing video games and managing stress. Playing games online, on a console, or mobile phone can help to relieve stress in a variety of ways, even when the games themselves are loud or even aggressive:

  • Playing video games causes the brain to secrete dopamine, which is one of the body’s natural feel-good hormones.
  • Overcoming challenges and improving strategy in video gameplay can be highly rewarding and help boost self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • The instant rewards provided by online games can help reduce the stress of working toward long-term goals, providing instant gratification at the times it is most needed.
  • Playing online games with friends can help us feel more connected and valued as part of a group.
  • Gaming can result in the player entering a flow state, which has similar benefits to meditation.

Gaming And Stress Relief

It was once thought that children and young people who were exposed to violence in video games could display ore tendencies toward violence in their daily interactions. Modern research has shown that there is not a clear link between people who play violent games and people who are aggressive in real life. The best games for stress relief are those that require players to work cooperatively as opposed to competitively. However, studies have shown that both groups show some reduction in stress levels after playing.

Some of the best genres of games to help manage stress are those that help the players enter a meditative or “flow state” of mind. Solo games like puzzles can act as short stress-relieving activities to break up an otherwise difficult day. Cooperative games can help people feel more connected and even act as a social outlet for sharing problems while playing.

There have even been games and devices created with the specific goal of helping players to manage stress. Some of these teach mindfulness techniques such as meditation, while others go further and provide biofeedback on the body’s reactions to a variety of situations to help develop personalized coping techniques.

Research has shown that people need to learn more techniques for dealing with stress than ever before. One study commissioned by YouGov found that 74% of the 4,619 participants reported having felt overwhelmed or unable to cope at some point within the previous twelve months. Another survey of 2,000 adults found that almost 75% experienced days where they had no relaxation or downtime at all.

Online Games Foster Creativity

Finding opportunities to be creative is a well-documented way of helping to manage stress. Creative behaviors can increase dopamine secretions, reduce stress and anxiety, help manage trauma, and provide a boost to the immune system. Playing creative games functions in much the same way as writing a story, making music, or drawing a picture. Games like Minecraft that allow players to create their own functional and beautiful world can therefore be great for alleviating stress.

One study found that spending just 45 minutes creating something artistic could result in significantly lowered levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Playing Sim City or RollerCoaster Tycoon for 45 minutes can therefore help reduce the amount of stress hormones being released, so can act s a soothing way to calm down after experiencing something stressful.

Socializing With Online Games

Social interaction is a key aspect of warding of stress-related conditions such as depression. When we feel more connected to people, we are less likely to feel depressed. Playing online games in a group can help manage many of the symptoms of depression and help people to feel more engaged with others and with life in general. Many online games are now including an element of social interaction, with lots of individual player games incorporating a social space for players to interact. For example, when playing bingo online players are now able to socialize with other players in a chat room on the bingo site to make the game more sociable and fun. This is a useful technique used by online bingo providers as their game is traditionally known as a social entertainment game, so it keeps the interaction there.

People who struggle with forging or maintaining relationships due to social anxiety, introversion, or mental health conditions often find the anonymity of social interactions that take place while playing online makes them easier to deal with. This can act as the first stepping stone on the way to making friends and forming meaningful relationships. Lots of gamers report having found lasting, trustworthy friendships with people they have played with online, even if they never meet those people face to face.

We all need to take the time to relax and engage in activities that help us feel calmer and alleviate the stresses of the day. For many people, playing video games could be the answer. For others, it might be gardening, knitting, dancing, listening to music, or reading a book. Whatever the chosen activity, finding some time every day to relax can have multiple long-term benefits on our mental and physical health.

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