How Video Games can relieve our stress levels

How Video Games can relieve our stress levels

Video games and stress


  • 1 Video games and stress
  • 2 Do video games generate stress?
  • 3 How do video games help us relieve stress ?: studies done
  • 4 What mechanisms act to relieve stress?
  • 5 Play in moderation

Video games and stress

Much has been written about video games, and most are quite negative. We are concerned that videogames cause our children to become less social and more violent, and in general, to all more stressed. But important research has been done on the subject and, fortunately, they have been able to give us some good news: video games can actually help us reduce our stress levels.

Most people who usually play video games, even those who do so with those with violent content, They report that it helps them relieve stress and at the same time they enjoy playing with friends.

However, much of the research carried out so far on video games comes with the presumption that the games are stressful or even psychologically harmful. But this is not entirely true, and there is already some evidence to support this hypothesis.

Do video games generate stress?

Some studies show that a stressful situation in the game leads players to experience a stress reaction as in real life. There are also studies that have found that when people play with violent games, they are more likely to act aggressively in other real-life settings. For example, in a laboratory study, it was observed that participants who played with violent video games for 20 minutes or more were more likely to shout at other people when they were given the opportunity, which is considered an indication of aggressiveness.

In another study, he found that teenage boys who played violent video games experienced increases in feelings of aggression, although these increases were minimal and barely detectable, and teenage girls on the other hand experienced a slight increase in stress.

How video games help us relieve stress ?: studies done

The vast majority of research that has been conducted on the relationship between violence in video games and aggression in reality, do not show a clear correspondence between exposure to violence in the game and aggression in the real world.

Similarly, although some stress responses caused by games may appear, the overall assessments provided by the players failed to show a link between problems with social life, academic behavior, work behavior and physical reactions (stress ), which shows that, if there is a negative effect, the players themselves are not aware of it and its effects on their lives.

In one study, players were examined while playing video games either competitively or cooperatively. The results showed a slight difference in stress levels after playing, for example those who played cooperatively experienced a decrease in their stress levels, but even those who played competitively did not increase their stress and the level difference between both groups was small. Further, both groups retained positive feelings towards the other players, even if they had played competitively. This is another way in which video games can provide positive social experiences and a decrease in stress.

In another study, a survey of 1614 players was carried out to examine their use of Computer games as a tool for tension recovery.

The results showed that, in effect, The games are used as a tool to cope after exposure to stress and tension situations, and that this "recovery experience" is an important facet of the gaming experience. The researchers also examined the relationship between work-related fatigue or everyday problems, and the use of video games for recovery purposes, and found that the people who more intensely associated the game with stress recovery, more often used it after stressful and stressful situations.

What mechanisms act to relieve stress?

Video games can give us a fun way to develop our emotional awareness and coping skills. A study by the Institute of Behavioral Sciences in the Netherlands analyzed players who dominated the Starcraft 2 to determine if the survival mechanisms they used for the game were related to their overall stress levels. What they found was that the majority of players who lost during the game They found useful coping strategies to manage their negative emotions.

The most useful strategies that were used in these cases were those that either sought a solution to negative feelings (either by solving problems or by using personal coping strategies) or those seeking social support from others. players. The key was to take measures to maintain a healthy balance, either by making beneficial decisions to change your situation for the better, or by seeking support. In fact, most of Reward game players seem to be able to manage their emotions and work towards effective solutions to stress.

Apparently, the strategies that worked well for these players can be used in our own daily life: it is the development of our own consciousness or introception and it helps maintain emotional balance, which is a vital part of healthy coping. And even more importantly, through games, we can find practice scenarios for the development of these skills in a way that is not threatening but fun, which is one of the advantages offered by the games.

Another study also showed that action-based video games not only reduce stress, but also can sharpen cognitive skills such as reaction speed. This can help players think faster and are likely to be more competent in solving problems, which can reduce stress in other ways as well. In general, there is significant evidence showing that video games are not only fun, but they can be good allies to relieve stress.

Play in moderation

Like everything in this world, it is clear that video games should not be abused. It is one thing to play in some moments and another to become addicted to this type of games. It is not healthy to play numerous hours every day, leaving aside our life and our obligations. Nor will video games solve our problems, but they can be a very effective distractor and, therefore, a great ally to reduce fatigue and tension from day to day.

Basically, if you enjoy a video game, it is probably a good stress reliever. In addition, games with a strong social component, such as cooperative games, can be especially beneficial as tools to relieve tension.

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