Stress Relief Games and Activities
Stress and factors that cause stress are everyday realities. It is almost like we are born to find out how best to handle stress. We all are different, so there different stress relief strategies that are effective. In this Hub, I discuss stress relief games as a means of achieving stress relief. These games include online and offline computer games and games that don't require any electronic hardware. Read on and find out if any of these methods will help you be an island of tranquility in an ocean of stress.
Games? For relieving stress? My first thought was no way, but yes, there are some stress relief games that you can play that can actually help in that regard. For instance, there is the MindHabits.com site where you can try out the software online. There are several levels, four of which you can play for free online. This game is based on the results of tests done by Dr. Mark Baldwin, a research psychologist on stress reduction. This research has shown that playing games like MindHabit can significantly decrease stress and increase self-confidence - if they are played for 5 minutes or more daily.
Here is what happens on all levels: there is calming, repetitive electronic music in the background. There are four different types of games that are within the program: the Matrix, Who Are You?, Words, and Grow Your Chi. In each of the games, there are 100 different levels to play, with the difficulty increasing with each level. I encourage you to try out the first four levels online. The program costs $19.95 if you want to go for all 100 levels. It only works on PCs, not Macs.
In the Matrix, you find smiling faces in panels. The presentation is like a game of Jeopardy on the first level. In the Who Are You section, there are panels presented as well, with your name and birth year. Smiling faces pop up. In the words section, you identify positive words that are in a word scramble pattern, like you would find in a newspaper section near the comics. The last section, Grow Your Chi, you identify panels that come across the screen that have smiling faces or balloons that rise up with your name. All of these things help entrain positive thoughts and word associations in your mind.
If you buy the game, you can use a daily tracker to determine your progress in increasing your self-confidence and stress reduction. There is also a science lab and many other tools within the program that you can utilize. I think it is worth a look for anyone who is challenged by stress. I enjoyed playing it for the first few levels, and using the tracker would definitely be a plus for building confidence and entraining a positive mindset.
Stress Reduction Resources
Taking Your Mind Off Stress By Playing Games
On arcadevoid.com, there is one game that I like for helping taking my mind off line. Sometimes I think we all need a time out. This game is "4 Differences." The music in the background is like the waves coming in from the ocean and and organ accompaniment, which is very relaxing. What I think is beneficial is that the game is not timed, so you can go about looking for differences in the different screens at your leisure. Some of the differences are a bit small, but there is no timer to rush you along. The graphics are good as well.
On the same site, you can go on an adventure by playing Tombscape 2. An adventure will certainly give you mind a rest from the outside world. If you have no clue on how to proceed with the game, there is a helpful walk through video that shows you how. It looks
If you don't have a computer or a smartphone, you could just get a puzzle book out and do a crossword, Sudoku, word scramble, or find the differences game. When you are on the go, sometimes a book of games is the most convenient way to go. We don't have to be hooked up to something electronic all of the time. This is a cause of stress as well as a potential tool for stress relief.
Shooting, Blowing Up And Other Strategies to Relieve Stress
I really don't know if this strategy really works, but several sites have games where you can release pent-up anger by shooting or blowing things up. I don't know if these games offer any long-term benefit for stress-relief, but perhaps they are a way to kill time and perhaps put off venting your anger at your fellow employees or boss.
An inventive game called Flakeyboy 2 is on the website arcadevoid.com, where you can select a number of devices, bombs and other means of wasting Flakeyboy. The music in the background is a waltz, so you can waltz through the bloody mess of blowing up and skewering the funny looking blue alien. Your inventiveness for placement of the weapons will reward you with an increase in level, where you can use even more weapons against your foe.
Breath Games For Stress Reduction
People hold their breath or breathe shallowly when they are under stress. So, another game which directly addresses a major symptom, and one that requires no external accessories, is to count your breath. Count how many times you can exhale and not have your mind distracted by other things. Count every exhale through the nose. See if you can count to 100 without having your mind distracted by thoughts or stressful thinking. Every time that a stressful thought comes across your mind, go back to zero. Hint: Closing your eyes will reduce external distractions.
There are quite a few stress relief techniques that use the breath. One of the key aspects to eliminating stress is to sense that you are letting go with each exhale. Following the Breath is an ancient method used in various meditation traditions. Sometimes these methods use counting, and sometimes not.
Helpful Publications and Websites
1. Stress Management: Approaches for Preventing and Reducing Stress. Harvard Health Publications. 2011.