The Connection Between Video Games and Stress Relief

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The Connection Between Video Games and Stress Relief

There have been studies that show that a stressful in-game situation can make a player feel stressed out in real life / Photo by gstockstudio via 123RF


There are so many things that have been written about video games and how they affect a person negatively. We are even afraid that video games are making kids less social and more violent, and in turn, a cause for stress among adults. There have been various researches on the topic of video games to find out once and for all whether it is good or bad for us. The verdict: it can be a good stress buster.

The Research Between Gaming and Stress

Most gamers have reported that playing video games - even violent ones - are a good way to release stress and have fun with friends.

Most researches that have been done on video games end up with conclusions that video games are harmful psychologically and even stressful. While this is not true all the time, there are some pieces of evidence that support these findings.

There have been studies that show that a stressful in-game situation can make a player feel stressed out in real life. However, there are also other studies that show that when people play violent games, they are more likely to act aggressively in lab-based scenarios according to

There is no clear line between violent video games and aggression. While lab-settings might result in people blasting loud music after a game, this does not happen in the real world.

Games such as Grand Theft Auto did not increase crime rates. A 2015 study found that after the release of a violent video game, assault and homicide actually went down. The researchers in this study said that it is complicated to explain such correlation. Some scientists have explained that there might be those who feel that their aggression is reduced from playing violent video games while there are others who prefer to play violent video games than act criminally. This goes to show that there is no association between criminal activity and playing violent video games. 

Video games and gun violence

Political figures have blamed school shooting on kids who are playing violent video games. According to Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, guns are not the problem but the games that children play are. However, other countries that spend more on video games have lesser gun murders than the US. Other countries such as Germany, Australia, Canada, the UK, Japan, South Korea, and France spend more on games than the US so there should be more violence there. But according to research, there is less gun violence in those countries compared to the United States. 

Video games and relaxation

People play video games to unwind. Research has shown that games can help you relax. Puzzle video games can decrease stress and put you in a good mood. 

Games that contain stress management components can help one manage stress more effectively / Photo by Thanapol Kuptanisakorn via 123RF


Research from the American Psychological Association said that games can elicit various emotions, both positive and negative. Some of these emotions include relaxation, anger, satisfaction, and frustration. Experiencing these things in a game can help people regulate emotions and cope with different situations in real life.

Other studies have shown that those who play games have fewer emotional issues and are more likely to help others.

Benefits of playing video games

Aside from reducing stress, there are other benefits of playing video games. Some of which include the following:

Slows aging

Brain games such as those that involve problem solving, memory, and puzzles have proven to be beneficial to older people. 10 hours of play can increase cognitive functioning among 50-year-olds and above. The improvement can last for many years. 

Distraction from pain

Games can be a good diversion from pain. Playing can produce a pain-killing response from the cortical systems of the brain.

New connections

Just because games are played in individual computers or gadgets does not mean that a player is isolated from the real world. As a matter of fact, players can meet new gamer friends and they usually gather in person as they share the same interests.

Faster decisions

Players need to adapt quickly especially if they are playing fast-paced games. This skill can be applied in real life and you can make quick decisions and think on your feet.  

What Games to Play?

There are casual games, cooperative games, games with stress management components, games that build skills, and basically games that you really enjoy. All of these games can help reduce stress.

Casual games are those games that you can pick up and play for a few minutes and put down again. These games are enjoyable because they can give you a quick break.

Cooperative games are those that require other players. One benefit is that you can meet new friends and enjoy networking. As kids, we love to play games. This does not mean this goes away during adulthood.

Games that contain stress management components can help one manage stress more effectively. Some games train players to meditate and combat stress. However, games that teach stress management skills are few.

Games that build skills can be those that build brain power or certain abilities. They can take your mind off the things that are bothering you and help you solve problems. Skill-building games can be puzzle games that require quick thinking.

Basically, any game that you enjoy can be a good stress reliever. It can give you a temporary escape from daily stress and build positive feelings.



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