Stress relief games? Not too long ago, I hadn’t even heard of the concept. But then, life used to be a whole lot less stressful. Most people’s daily routines gave them all the tension relief they needed. But times have changed. In the age of multi-tasking and ever-expanding workloads, we need all the help we can get to allow our bodies and our emotions to recover from that constant stress overload.
One effective way to ease stress is by physical activity, and sitting in front of a computer all day doesn’t qualify. People used to haul bales of hay, sweep stairs, or plough fields as part of their days’ work, and if they were stressed, that surely would have taken care of excess stress hormones. But what are we supposed to do in cubicle world?
As it turns out, stress relief games, some of them available right on your computer, are just the ticket. If you’re an internet junkie, you probably know all about them already. There are entire websites that specialize in games for stress relief.
If you’d rather get away from the computer, though, there are some excellent offline games you can play as well.
The key is to find games that offer an escape from stress rather than create more of it. Some computer games can easily have the opposite effect from what you want to achieve. You want games that take your mind off whatever is causing tension by making you focus on something else. But you don’t want to start getting stressed all over again.
Here’s a case in point of what can happen: personally, I find Sudoku quite relaxing – but only if it’s not too difficult. It has to be hard enough to be absorbing, but not so hard that I’m starting to worry that I can’t solve it. Some people actually time themselves when doing Sudoku – probably part of making it competitive, but that would spoil it for me.
Here are 5 of the best stress relief games you play to tame excess tension
1. Card games, like Solitaire, that involve logical thinking. You can do these on the computer or the traditional way with a deck of cards.
2. Word games that use your creative and logical thinking processes. When you involve both sides of your brain in an activity, there is little room to focus on the stress.
3. Puzzles of various kinds, like chess, checkers and crosswords. Challenges that are not stressful can be both fulfilling and a relief. These are especially good if your stress is being caused by an especially difficult project. Winning a few games helps restore your confidence and puts you in a better frame of mind to tackle that project. Oh, and of course, Sudoku belongs in that category.
4. Computer games can be fun and relaxing or stressful, so choose wisely. Arcade games can relieve a lot of pent-up tension and anger, but if a time limit is put on the game, this can add to your stress level. If you are adversely affected by certain games, choose different ones next time.
5. Games involving physical activity are especially good for relieving stress, especially if they’re played outdoors. Tennis and golf are two time-tested favorites. The physical exertion decreases the levels of stress hormones that have built up in your body.
Next time you feel the tension rising, take a break. Search online for games that you can enjoy while reducing your stress levels. If time and opportunity permit, get away for awhile. Hit the golf course or tennis court for a quick game.