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Gaming as Stress Relief: Games to Reduce Stress

Stress seems to be a constant in today's fast-moving society. There's stress from work, traveling, and the constant stream of bad news from laptops, TVs, and smartphones. Because of all of the negative health consequences that excess stress has been linked to, the push to reduce daily stress is more important than ever.

The good news is that there are some great games out there that can not only positively fill your recreational time but can also help you de-stress. While not every option on this list is going to work for everyone, it shows that you have plenty of options available.

stress games Power of Video Games

One of the best options for games that can help you relax is video games. Here’s some good news for moderate gamers out there: while many video games have received bad press, research does not support all of those claims. In fact, recent studies show that a small amount of video game playing (an hour or two a night) can significantly reduce stress levels. 1

There are a few obvious caveats, however. You have to enjoy gaming at least a little bit, be able to get lost in the game to prevent anxious thoughts from sneaking in, and it helps a lot if you enjoy the actual video game you're playing.

A Different Niche of Video Games

If mainstream video games aren’t your thing, there's an entirely different type of game for you. Modeled after the old school Harvest Moon video game series from the late 1990s and early 2000s, games like Stardew Valley, Twirl, My Time in Portia are all potential options. 2 Featuring relaxing music, repetitive tasks, and a relaxed time frame, these new games have found massive audiences.

Try harvesting parsnips, slowly claiming back a rundown farm from the wild, or even earning coppers, then silvers, then gold as a graveyard keeper moonlighting as a preacher, farmer, and merchant. In other words, there are plenty of great options.

Playing with Pets stress games

Playing with pets can be highly soothing. If you're a cat person, having a cat purr can be soothing, and playing with them can be entertaining and amusing. If you're a dog person, you know how infectious the excitement and joy of a dog can be. 3

This one is also a great option if you’re looking to get outside or away from technology for a little while in order to relax.

stress games Go Back to Catch

The problem some people have with games is the stress that comes with the competitive element that a game might bring.

A great way to overcome that is by playing a game that has no points and no winners or losers. Playing catch with a baseball, softball, or football gives a steady back and forth rhythm that allows for exercise and release of endorphins in a calming way.


There are many games out there to reduce stress, which means you have a lot of options to choose from. For some, playing catch will bring back cathartic childhood memories. For others, a pet can feel like a family member that can always brighten your day. Even gamers have an outlet—within reason. Keep these options in mind and you'll be on your way to stressing less.

Photo Credits: Ivanko80/, REDPIXEL.PL/, golubovystock/, RobMarmion/

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