Science says playing video games helps reduce stress

Science says playing video games helps reduce stress

Some people play games to relax. In fact, it doesn’t matter what kind of game you are playing as long as it’s a game that you enjoy, as studies have proven that they can effectively help to reduce stress.


Science says playing video games helps reduce stress

This may sound like a bold claim but as it turns out, there’s scientific evidence that support it. If playing video games isn’t a part of your everyday parenting routine, you might want to look at incorporating it into your schedule.

A 2010 study at the Texas A&M spearheaded by Associate Professor Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson revealed that men and women who play video games – even violent ones – seem to be able to have enough mental capacity to handle stress, avoid depression, and are able to handle stressful situations more competently. In fact, the study says that violent video games, in particular, can be used as a form of therapy in order to help people find a way to “work through their frustrations” in real life. To gamers who like to “relax” or to “de-stress”, this isn’t something new as every time they play games, their mind gets rebooted and their bodies tend to relax. A 2014 study at the University College in London backs up this claim by asserting that there is indeed a correlation between playing games and being able to handle stress better.

In another study in 2009 published by the Journal of CyberTherapy & Rehabilitation, scientists tested the effects of casual video games on people. The effects tested in the study included a heart rate variability and electroencephalography. At first, scientists expected that the responses would indicate that the research subjects would be in a more stressed state since video games often require quick response times. However, the opposite happened.

“Remarkably all three games (there were used in the test) had different yet complimentary mood lifting effects. BJW 2 decreased left alpha brain waves associated with a decrease in withdrawal and depressive type behaviours, and PGL increased right alpha brain wave activity associated with excitement or euphoric behaviours.”

This has something to do with Neuroplasticity, which is a concept that involves doing something over and over again which causes the brain to rewire itself in certain ways. For example, people who are already stressed may shift their thoughts to something different, which distracts them from the stress, or even physical pain, by shifting their attention. In this case, pressing buttons over and over again seems to be somewhat therapeutic for some people.

This may well be the reason why the older demographic love going to casinos or bingo halls. By playing their favorite video or card games, seniors can reduce the stress or pain that they may be experiencing throughout the day. According to an article entitled the ‘Introduction to Permutations and Combinations’ published on gaming portal Pocket Fruity, it was documented that people don’t seem to mind repetition when playing games. Repetitive games reduce stress and kill time, making video games perfect for exhausted parents or anyone else that is in dire need of some downtime.

Video games have almost always been painted in a negative light, and sometimes deemed a waste of time. But thanks to scientific research, people can be safe in the knowledge that gaming has its own set of benefits.

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  1. Indeed, I agree that playing video games relieves stress…It’s just that when kids play it, I would like to investigate why they first of all getting stressed!!!

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