How Video Games can Help Combat Stress
Video games have long been a popular form of entertainment, but their impact on mental health has been a topic of debate. In recent years, video games have been increasingly recognised as a tool for relaxation, escapism, and emotional processing. In honour of Stress Awareness Month, we’ve explored the benefits of video games for mental health, and how gaming can help combat stress, anxiety, and loneliness.
Relaxation and Escapism
Games like Animal Crossing, Minecraft, and Stardew Valley offer players a peaceful and low-stress environment to unwind in. These games allow players to engage in simple tasks like planting flowers, fishing, and cooking, which can be therapeutic and calming. Video games can provide a space for relaxation, allowing players to escape the stresses of everyday life and take their minds off their problems for a while.
Furthermore, video games can also help people cope with difficult emotions and experiences. Games like That Dragon, Cancer and Never Alone tackle complex issues like grief and loss and can provide a cathartic experience for players. These types of games can offer a safe space to process emotions and experiences that may be difficult to confront in real life.
Accomplishment and Control
When people play video games like Tetris or Candy Crush, they are presented with challenges and goals to achieve. These challenges can range from arranging falling blocks in Tetris to matching candy pieces in Candy Crush. As players progress through the levels, they are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction for their efforts.
This sense of accomplishment and control can be particularly appealing to people who may feel like they have limited control over their daily lives. In video games, players have agency over their actions and decisions, and the outcomes are largely determined by their choices and abilities. This can be empowering for individuals who may feel otherwise powerless in their daily lives.
Additionally, video games often provide a clear feedback loop that lets players know when they have succeeded or failed. This immediate feedback can be highly motivating, as players can quickly see the results of their efforts and adjust their strategies accordingly. This sense of progress and improvement can also contribute to a player’s sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Playing with Friends Online
Playing video games like World of Warcraft or Apex Legends with friends online can be a great way to combat stress, particularly during times when much needed social interaction is limited, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the benefits of playing video games with friends online is that it can provide a sense of social connection and community. Even though you may not be physically in the same place as your friends, you can still chat, interact, and forget about your problems for a bit while playing games together. This can also help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation, as you feel like you are part of a social group.
In conclusion, video games have been shown to have a positive impact on mental health and can help combat stress, anxiety, and loneliness. Whether it’s the relaxation and escapism, the sense of accomplishment and control, or the social connection and community of playing with friends online, video games offer a range of benefits for individuals looking to de-stress and improve their overall mental health.
Our favourite stress relieving games
Are you looking for a way to unwind after a long day? The One Player Mission team has curated a list of their favorite games that can help you do just that. Whether you prefer relaxing puzzles or immersive RPGs, there’s something here for everyone.