We all know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by our daily tasks and busy routines. Sometimes, all we need to reset our stressed minds into a calmer, clearer state is to take a few minutes to escape the responsibilities of our to-do lists and simply relax. When we think of relaxation, indoor fun activities such as craft hobbies and meditation, or relaxing pastimes like walking come to mind. Sadly, though, our day-to-day lives don’t always allow for such luxuries.
There is another solution – one that is right under our noses in the palm of our hands. Recent studies have shown that, contrary to popular belief, video games or mobile games can actually help relieve stress.
This topic is not without controversy though, and there is compelling research on both sides of the argument. However, the latest research in favor of games is so compelling that one simply cannot ignore the many benefits gaming offers. Let’s have a look at some of the findings of these studies and explore the best mobile games to help reduce stress.
The Link Between Gaming And Stress Recovery
To avoid work-related strain and to feel prepared and refocused for the next day of work, it is essential to decompress and recover from stressful situations. During recovery, it is crucial to experience psychological detachment from work, relaxation and a sense of control, all of which are assisted by digital games, according to a study in the International Journal of Human Computer Studies.
The research, during which 491 participants were surveyed, found a correlation between the total number of hours spent playing digital games per week and overall recovery. Another study found that action-based video games not only help reduce stress, but can also sharpen cognitive abilities such as reaction speed. This enables gamers to think more quickly on their feet and be able to solve problems more proficiently, which can reduce stress in other ways as well.
A study conducted at East Carolina University revealed that casual video games can have a positive effect on the moods and anxiety levels in people suffering from clinical depression. The study, in which nearly 60 subjects participated, involved three family-friendly, non-violent puzzle games: Bejeweled 2®, Peggle™ and Bookworm Adventures™.
According to game designer Jane McGonigal, anxiety that flows from negative thought cycles can be disrupted by games due to the attention they demand, which creates a deep focus on the activity at hand. Overall, there is plenty of proof that mobile games are not only fun, but can be a great way to relieve stress too.
The Best Stress-Reducing Mobile Games
While some mobile games are designed to release a jolt of adrenaline and excitement, others offer a serene environment that stimulates the mind. With millions of gaming apps at your fingertips, it may be hard to navigate your way to one that will have all the right elements to create an ideal equilibrium of stress-free happiness. Here are our top picks for stress-reducing mobile games.
When you want to chill out without trying to overcome obstacles and partake in stressful challenges, a casual game can be a great way to relax. These games do not require a huge time investment and there is no penalty if you need to quit after a certain amount of time. Some of the most popular casual mobile games are Roll The Ball, Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds Classic, Super Mario Run, Plants vs Zombies 2, Fruit Ninja, Bubble Shooter, Piano Tiles 2 and My Oasis.
Skill-building games that require a bit of thinking offer a great escape. Crossword puzzle games like Crosswords, word games like New Words With Friends and games that require quick thinking such as Brain Age, Brain Age 2, Brain Age Concentration Training and Big Brain Academy, not only help take your mind off stress, but can build brain power or specific abilities that can help you solve problems and stay organized in your regular life. Other great pick-up-and-play games that will challenge you mentally and leave you feeling calm and focused are Jigsaw Puzzle, Hocus, Infinity Loop, PRISM and Monument Valley 2.
Simulation And Adventure Games
Alto’s Odyssey offers the ideal form of escapism for those who don’t have hours to explore vast fantasy realms like those in The Witcher, for example. Set in an expansive desert, the game takes you on a scenic adventure from a snowboarder’s perspective across a range of beautiful landscapes. You’ll slide past crumbling ruins, glide through sandstorms, fly through waterfalls and bounce off hot-air balloons.
The game includes a Zen mode where you don’t have to worry about crashing, allowing you to relax completely while you immerse yourself in another world. Euro Truck Evolution, a truck driving simulation game, takes you on a virtual journey along country roads and highways throughout Europe. Along the way, you will explore beautiful cities like Berlin, Prague, Madrid, Rome, Paris and more. You can drive as slowly or as fast as you want and listen to the radio as you cruise along. It’s the ideal game to clear your head.
Games That Stimulate Creativity
Games with no time limits or possibility for failure, and with no real objective other than giving free reign to your creativity, allow you to relax without having to think too much. Pigment, a digital coloring book, and Prune, a simple game where you have to prune a Bonsai tree to form it into the shape you’d like, are great examples.
Ultimately, you don’t need to meditate or spend time on elaborate indoor fun activities to de-stress. Giving your mind a break could be as easy as taking a few minutes to play your favorite mobile game. Whether you enjoy adventure-filled simulator games or mind-challenging puzzle apps – it can be a great way to break negative thoughts, build positive feelings, relax and de-stress.
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