Video games help control stress when they help us disconnect from worries. Now, their use becomes negative when we use them as an excuse.
No one would doubt the importance of play in childhood. The idea that we should never stop playing has even resurfaced. However, it seems that when we say video games we are expressing a bad word. What if we told you that video games help control stress?
Although this debate is not completely settled, there are two opposing positions. There are studies, which we will cite, that indicate how video games help to control stress, by allowing the mind to focus on other things and be a means of downloading emotions.
On the other hand, it insists on the stressful effects and aggressiveness that can arise from a video game, in addition to the physical effects of adopting a certain posture for a sustained time. In some cases it is even considered that they can generate a behavioral addiction.
Could violent video games generate violent reactions?
Once again, in relation to this question, there is no unambiguous or conclusive evidence. Different studies reveal that after playing a violent game, people are able to yell at other players.
However, this reading could be biased, since it occurs in a laboratory situation, as opposed to real life; people, in reality, after playing don’t go screaming around there. In this sense, there would be no direct relationship between the use of violent video games and its correlate in behavior.
Role of video games in reducing stress
Video games would help manage stress for the recovery experience. This means that people use them as an escape route after experiencing stressful situations.
For example, after work or study days. That feeling of well-being and disconnection also has effects on the body.
How does it work?
As the objective is playful and leisure, video games are oriented to connect with pleasant emotions. In this sense, at the body level they trigger the production of dopamine, which is why this feeling of well-being takes place.
It can also make socializing easier when sharing with friends or other people. Some games are even used in the workplace to encourage teamwork.
Through video games, the state of flow is activated, which consists of concentration and focused attention around an objective. In this way, commitment is exercised and we feel gratified by reaching an achievement or overcoming a challenge.
What types of video games are recommended for stress relief?
In relation to the types of video games that help control stress, there is an influencing factor that is very important: personality and personal tastes. That is, there are people who enjoy competitive games, while others get even more stressed and that is why they prefer other proposals.
There are video games in which the participant is asked to perform movements, follow a rhythm or coordinate steps. The best known are sports and dance. There are studies that highlight that they could be very useful to combat sedentary lifestyle.
In some studies it is mentioned that more casual games (simple and that do not require the deployment of great skills) also serve to relieve stress, such as puzzles and the famous Tetris, among others.
Games to train skills or learn
Many people are excited to combine fun with developing new skills. In this sense, video games that have trivia or riddles, in the style of Brain Age: Train Your Brain, may be an option.
Video games not recommended
In general, it is accepted that those video games in which discrimination is promoted, or those that have sexist messages, are not suggested. You always have to try to have a careful and critical look.
On the other hand, it is also recommended to avoid those that, from the outset, involve a large investment of time to achieve an achievement. That is, those that are designed to be long. This is because it can be frustrating and stressful never to reach the goal.
Look for moderation instead of prohibition
As always, extremes in life are not good. So, it’s not about being fundamentalists and completely eliminating video games or spending hours with them. They must be considered as a tool and take advantage of their psychological benefits.
That is, putting into practice the ability to decide and know how to choose what to play, at what times and for how long. If at the end of playing I begin to feel stress because I did not study for an exam or our sleeping habits change, then you have to adjust.
Second, don’t underestimate stress. It involves an increase in cortisol in the body and therefore anxiety and worry permanently.
Also, while video games help control stress, they can also be used as a way to avoid facing certain difficult situations. In the latter case, relief is momentary, but it prolongs an inescapable situation that requires responsibility. To avoid this non-recommended use, it is good not to lose focus and ask yourself the reason for a certain behavior.