There is no question that stress relief games are needed in everyone’s life. We all need to play a little and have as much fun as we can to combat all the stress in life. Thankfully, there are dozens of games you can play to help relieve stress and the benefits of playing games for this purpose are extensive.
With active games, such as outdoor games or sports, you get the benefit of exercise, which helps to burn off excess amounts of the hormone, Cortisol, produced by your HPA Axis when you face various stressors in your life. This includes the endless mental stressors we all have in our complicated, busy lives. When you get exercise from stress relief games, your body also produces a significant amount of Nitric Oxide and this helps you to heal yourself from within. Nitric Oxide helps to activate your own internal pharmacy.
With mental stress relief games, such as crossword puzzles and other paper and pen games, like Word Searches or Sudoku, you get a chance to exercise your brain and when you do this, your brain forms new synaptic pathways to replace the ones that die each day as a result of the stress of daily life. For children, these types of mental games help build thousands, if not millions, of new synaptic pathways and connections which dramatically help them as they navigate their school years.
Many games are also social and when you participate in social activities, such as sports or party games, your body will produce lots of Dopamine and Oxytocin, two brain chemicals that can counter the destructive effects of Adrenaline and Cortisol, of which we all get far too much.
Many games are played solo as well, such as card games or video games and these provide an excellent opportunity to practice breathing and meditation. This is important because society in general seems to value extroverts over introverts. Extroverts are people who thrive in group settings and introverts are people who function far better on their own. By overvaluing extroverts and undervaluing introverts, we send a message to the introverts that they are somehow incomplete or less important. The reality, however, is that there are many introverts in the world and in fact, the MBTI Manual (Myers Briggs Type Indicator), reports the world is broken up roughly half and half between introverts and extroverts. By spending time playing solo games, it allows all the introverts in the world, who are often undervalued to regain their sense of balance and it allows the extroverts time to de-stress a little.
Of course, card games and video games can be played in pairs or small groups and the same is true of all the board games that have become available over the years. This setting combines the benefits of a lower key activity and still offers some social and other benefits, which are all great for stress management. Board games allow for relationship building, teach valuable life skills and allow for a quiet activity in a fun, non-threatening setting.
Other Stress Management Benefits of Playing Board Games
Seeing patterns, planning, predicting outcomes, learning from experience, making decisions, social interaction, focus and concentration, patience, memory development, problem solving, confidence, logical reasoning, imagination, creativity, independence and self-motivation.
Another major benefit of stress relief games is laughter. Let’s face it, games can be a lot of fun and when they are played in a relaxed, fun way instead of a highly competitive, aggressive manner, people get to laugh and laugh a lot. Few things are better for fighting stress than laugh therapy.
So, be sure to play as many stress relief games as you can on a regular basis. You will be doing your body good.