Modern Technological Stress Reliever

This can be true to a certain extent, because not ALL video games can be called ‘stress relievers’. I have had my good share of stressful game sessions where I just want to rip my hair out and wanted to punch the cutest thing in the world. But, for the most part, there are a multitude of video games out there that actually do the opposite and can help many individuals find a sense of peace in their everyday stressful life style.

For the vast majority of the population, whenever they hear the word gaming, they probably picture a bunch of raging teenage kids sitting behind a big TV playing “Grand Theft Auto” or the latest entry to the “Call of Duty” franchise, yelling at their screens and flying curse words from left to right. While those certain types of people do exist in the world, that stereotype has been pushed away as more demographics have joined the gaming community in recent times.

Different genres of games have been developed for the last few years that invite different types of people to play. Both men and women have been at an equal footing as gamers as we break from the stereo type that only men play video games, and there is a reason why so many people are turning to video games, it’s because video games have been successful at providing a stress relief and joy to anybody’s life.

There was a study conducted in 2010 at Texas A&M by Associate Professor Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson that showed that both men and women that have played violent games for an extended period of time were able to establish mental skills to handle stress, lower depression and reduce anxiety and hostility in stressful situations.

Ferguson explains that, “In this study, 103 young adults were given a frustrating task and then randomized to play no game, a non-violent game, a violent game with a good versus evil theme, or a violent game in which they played ‘the bad guy.’ The results suggest that violent games reduce depression and hostile feelings in players through mood management.” Ferguson further explained how video games can be a form of therapy for many people to help cope with their frustrations in their real life.

You don’t even have to play a violent video game to help relieve stress. Playing causal games on a mobile device or console such as “Bejeweled” or the newest installment of the “Picross 3D” games on the Nintendo 3DS causes a reduction in the number of distractions in life. Playing casually with even “Candy Crush” or “Sid Meier’s Civilization” games has you focus on one thing at a time and immensely reduces outside distractions-which also helps you feel less anxious.

These tips are not only limited to us college students here at SHSU, anyone going through some major stress in their life depending on their situations can escape from the reality of the real world for a couple of hours and become someone else in a video game. Some of my stress relievers when I was a freshmen here at SHSU were games such as “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” on the 3DS and “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” on my computer at home. Just diverging myself into a whole new world and taking control of somebody else’s life is relieving. You don’t have to worry about any consequences in the game that could transfer over into the real world. You can be somebody new with a totally different alibi and live a whole new life. The “Sims” franchise comes to mind when talking about having control in a different life.

So if you are trying to find video games that will reduce your stress from work, school or life, try to stay away from competitive video games. These include games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota 2, Starcraft and for some Call of Duty. From personal experience, if you are the type of person who is not satisfied and or upset after losing a 40 minute game on League of Legends, I would recommend staying away from it. You may also encounter some aggressive players online that may have a strong colorful opinion of you during the game. Some may find joy in these games, I do not know how, but to each their own.

In the end, it all depends on what you consider for yourself to be stress relieving. Everyone has different preferences and ways to get away from the mundane ways of life. From action-packed first person to mind-challenging casual games on your mobile device, there’s something for everyone!

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