How to cope with stress playing video games?

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cope with stress

For the longest time, many observers raised concerns over the negative impact of several video games. Some even established a correlation between real-life aggressions and in-game violence. Overall, the consensus was that video games induced stress. But what if we had it backwards to cope with stress? 

Scientific research is now backing a very opposite stance. Indeed, recent studies have shown that playing games could reduce stress levels and benefit mental health. Not only are games more engaging than the static screen of a television, but they also act as a cathartic activity. According to the works of Dr. Leonard Reinecke, a gaming session can be a recovery experience after exposure to a stressful situation. And games could, therefore, provide a means of grappling with work-related fatigue, or social anxiety. 

Studies show that video games help develop beneficial coping mechanisms to cope with stress. When confronted with tense in-game scenarios, many players indeed find strategies to unload the burden of their negative emotions. And those skills then reflect in their everyday lives.

Yet, not all video games are stress-relievers. So, which games should you play after a long, stressful day? Here are some suggestions to have fun and put your mind at ease all at once. 

Casual games

With casual games, no competition is the motto. Whether you play for a few minutes or a few hours is completely up to you. There is no pressure for results either, only a relaxing break you can stop whenever you feel like it. Plus, most casual games offer straightforward gameplay, on top of intuitive game mechanics. Therefore, even non-gamers can partake in the experience. 

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And the demand for casual gaming has been booming. On mobile, most stress-relief games are free to play. From Candy Crush Saga to Cats are Cute, the colorful universes of these games are a sure way to cheer up on a long commute or a gloomy day. 

But regular consoles also have their share of casual games. With its adorable animal villagers and serene environment, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was a massive hit in the early stages of the pandemic. Other casual entries such as the farming simulation Stardew Valley are just as relaxing, and players can even enjoy them in multiplayer mode.

Cooperative games

Solo gaming can be soothing. Still, connecting with fellow players often takes the gaming experience to the next level. Cooperative games can be shared with friends and family, or sometimes with complete strangers. Indeed, multiplayer games are, above all, a means of social interaction. Whether they are isolated or stranded at home for a while, many players are able to build a network of friends through gaming. And in so doing, they find a sense of belonging within their online community.  

Besides, studies have found that cooperative gaming induced a decrease in stress levels. Actively joining forces in a video game also leads to more positive feelings towards other players, as well as greater self-confidence as the game progresses. 

Card games

Many recent video games are easy to play. But if you’re not so tech-savvy, there is nothing quite like going back to some timeless classics. Card games come in such variety that you can choose their level of difficulty depending on your state of mind. And just like other games, playing cards helps your body release endorphins that combat stress.

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But you don’t always have to pack some cards in your bag to let off some steam after a trying day. On mobile or your desktop, the best online casinos have hundreds of card games for you to enjoy. You can raise the stakes around a live poker table, or exercise your brain playing blackjack. Plus, you don’t need to put money on the table as you can choose free games to play or even cash in no-deposit bonuses. Online casinos also help you practice some skills that might be a good conversation starter in your next family reunion. 

Brain games- cope with stress

Releasing stress and boosting brainpower don’t need to be mutually exclusive. In fact, many video games can actively improve your cognitive development. Puzzle games and memory games are beneficial, since they require quick thinking and rational organization. Problem-solving will therefore help you build coping strategies you can apply to your day-to-day life

Brain games also get you to focus on a specific target. As a result, they help take your mind off what’s troubling you. And before you know it, you will find it easier to concentrate, whether at work or home. 

Popular skill-building games are available on all devices, from Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training on Switch to the daily workouts of Elevate on mobile. Some entries also offer multiplayer options. You can, therefore, connect with some friends or relatives. But if you’re planning to release some stress together, try to avoid the most competitive partners!

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