I have been playing video games since I was 3 years old. Through video gaming, I have learned how to effectively mitigate my stress levels.
Is it possible to combat stress through video gaming?
I get asked this question multiple times, and my simple answer is always yes. Video gaming can help you reduce your stress levels depending on several factors. In this extended article, I will go over five factors and how you can use these factors to effectively reduce your stress levels. Keep in mind that everyone has different experiences when it comes to relieving stress; what works for one person might not work for you.
The five main factors I will be covering are the following:
- Genre of the game being played
- Mental state prior to playing
Before we begin, please note that the information presented in this article all revolves around my opinion. None of the information is objectively factual; you might disagree with this information and that is perfectly fine. People can have opinions; that is what makes us human. If you want to add anything or give me feedback on my style of writing, please leave a comment and I will do my best to reply to you. Now without further ado, let us begin.
The Genre of the Game
I will start by talking about video gaming genres. Much like movies and music, video games are categorized by genres. There are many gaming genres to choose from, ranging from action games all the way to puzzle games.
People long for entertainment from time to time, and video gaming succeeds at being a good source of entertainment. Sometimes, you just need to escape into a stress-free reality. Alright, let us go over some good examples of genres that will help in reducing your stress levels.
The simulation genre is one that pretty much embodies stress-free video gaming genres. Games such as The Sims 4 and Stardew Valley make you feel at peace as you slowly play through them. They have many aspects that make the game feel complex, yet relaxing to play through at the same time.
An excellent example of a stress-reducing simulation game is any title in the Microsoft Flight Simulator series. You fly planes, that is pretty much it. Since traveling is very difficult these days due to COVID-19, why not take a trip to anywhere in the world in a video game?
Now, you might think that fighting games will just end up increasing your stress levels in the long run. However, I like to look at it from a different perspective. I have a friend who once bought a punching bag just to take his anger out on it; why not do the same thing in a video game?
Fighting games allow you to pick a character of your choice and throw jabs and kicks at an opponent. Most fighting games also implement special moves into a character's arsenal, which help spice things up.
Games such as Mortal Kombat 11 and Street Fighter V are good examples. Anyone can easily pick a character that appeals to them, and jump into the action. If you want a family-friendly alternative, you cannot go wrong with a title from the Super Smash Bros. series.
MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game)
The MMORPG genre is my personal favorite. You can consider "MMORPG" as a sub-genre, with "Role Playing Game" being the umbrella genre. Nevertheless, role playing games are still some of the best games for stress relief. If you are not familiar with MMORPGs and how they work, it is quite simple. They allow you to create a virtual personalized avatar and you can accomplish many things on that avatar that you would, most likely, never try in real life. MMORPGs allow you to escape the stressful real world into a simpler virtual world.
A good example of a relaxing MMORPG is World of Warcraft. It is a game where you can pretty much do anything. Want to go fishing? You can do that. Want to enjoy the sounds of nature and/or the rain? Done. You can go on quests, gear up your avatar, and explore all what the world has to offer. I always find myself logging into the game just to listen to the ambience and soothing music.
Another good example is Runescape, which is still a classic to this day. You can play the more modern Runescape 3, or take a trip back through time and play Old School Runescape. Both offer a variety of activities to partake in for stress relief. You can explore the massive world, or you can work on leveling up skills such as fishing and cooking.
MMORPGs, in my humble opinion, are some of the most relaxing, if not the most relaxing, video games out there. The exploration aspect, coupled with the soundtrack, makes you feel truly immersed, which is perfect for forgetting about life's many responsibilities.
To conclude, video gaming genres are plentiful. If none of these games are something that you are interested in, there are many more out there. I know many people who love to play puzzle games to relax, for instance. Personally, I find them frustrating since many of them require a great deal of concentration.
If you have any insights on managing your own stress through video gaming, please leave a comment down below; I am sure other readers are interested in what you have to say. We are all going through tough times, and there is no better time than now to work on maintaining a healthy mental state.
Finally, please stay safe out there. Take the necessary precautions when going outside. Wear a mask; it is the least you could do. Follow the lockdown procedures, and take care of your loved ones. On that note, take care and have a good day. Stay tuned for the second part; it is coming soon!
© 2021 Mahmoud Chehabeddine
Mahmoud Chehabeddine (author) from Lebanon on January 10, 2021:
Thank you very much! Part 2 is coming soon!
Jinane on January 10, 2021: