How to Use Gaming as a Relaxation Aid!


In a world where the term “busy” is worn like a badge of honor, finding time to relax can often seem impossible, but if you are a gamer, it might be easier than you think! You see, gaming really can be relaxing.

You might think that sounds strange when you conjure up the stress of your last Call of Duty mission or how scared you were playing Silent Hill for the first time, but here’s check out this guide to relaxing via gaming and you will see that it’s true.

1. Choose the Right Game for the Right Mood

Not all games are created equal when it comes to relaxation. While some thrive on high-octane action and adrenaline-pumping missions (looking at you, Dark Souls), others like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley or even spider solitaire, offer a more serene vibe. The key is to match the game to your stress level.

Need to blow off steam? Maybe an hour in a fast-paced shooter is your therapy. Craving tranquility? A leisurely stroll through peaceful landscapes or a zen puzzle game might be just the ticket.

2. Set Time Limits—Seriously

It’s easy to think of gaming as a time vacuum. To keep your gaming sessions refreshing rather than draining, set a timer. Decide on a specific amount of time before you start playing.

Whether it’s 30 minutes or an hour, sticking to this limit can help ensure that gaming remains a source of relaxation, not a source of stress. Plus, it makes it all the sweeter when you do get to dive back in!

3. Create a Gaming Haven

The environment in which you game can significantly affect how relaxing the experience is. Create a dedicated gaming area that’s all about comfort. Invest in a good chair, soft lighting (perhaps some RGB for that extra ambiance), and maybe even some surrounding greenery to bring a bit of nature indoors.

Make your gaming space a place where you can physically leave the worries of the day at the door.

4. Make It Social (When You Want To)

Sometimes, relaxation comes from escaping into a game alone. Other times, it comes from laughing over a headset with friends. Multiplayer games can be a fantastic way to connect with others and share a few carefree hours. Just be sure to play with friends who enhance the experience—not those who make it a competitive slog!

5. Use Games to Foster Mindfulness

Games can be more than just escapism if you let them. In fact, you can use them to stay mindful and live more in the moment. How do you do this? By fully engaging with the game on the screen, taking in the graphics listening to the soundtrack more fully and noticing all of the details. You’ll be surprised how calm you feel if you do.

6. Balance with Physical Activity

While gaming can be mentally relaxing, it’s still a sedentary activity. Balance your gaming with some physical exercise. Whether it’s a quick walk around the block or a yoga session, moving your body before settling down to game can help keep your energy levels balanced and your body healthy.

7. Mind the Content

Just as we choose foods that nourish our bodies, we should choose games that nourish our peace of mind. Some games can provoke anxiety or frustration, which is counterproductive when you’re trying to relax. Know which games trigger stress for you, and steer clear of them when you’re looking to unwind.

8. Reflect After Playing

Take a few moments after your gaming session to reflect. How do you feel? More relaxed? Less tense? Or perhaps you’re feeling unexpectedly agitated? Being mindful of your reactions can help you better curate your gaming choices and optimize your relaxation time.

9. Gaming Detoxes

Believe it or not, taking regular breaks from gaming can actually make your gaming time more enjoyable. Just like with any other activity, too much of a good thing can lessen its impact. Periodic gaming detoxes help keep the experience fresh and exciting.

10. Explore Relaxing VR Experiences

Virtual reality (VR) offers a unique avenue for relaxation through immersive environments that can transport you away from the stresses of everyday life. Consider VR experiences designed specifically for relaxation and meditation. These might include virtual beaches, forests, or even outer space.

VR can provide a sensory escape that traditional screen-based games cannot match, enveloping you in a peaceful world where your real-world worries are miles away.

11. Incorporate Audio Elements

The power of sound in enhancing the gaming experience can’t be overstated, especially when it comes to relaxation. Choose games with soothing soundtracks or nature sounds.

For an added layer of immersion, consider playing ambient or classical music in the background while you game. Soundscapes can significantly affect your mood and stress levels, turning a gaming session into a therapeutic retreat.

12. Choose Non-Competitive Games

While multiplayer games with friends can be fun, competitive gaming can sometimes increase stress rather than alleviate it. Opt for non-competitive games that focus on exploration, creativity, or building rather than defeating opponents.

Games like “Minecraft” in creative mode or “The Sims” allow for self-paced play that encourages creativity and can be very soothing.

13. Use Gaming as a Reward

Turn gaming into a positive reinforcement for completing stressful or mundane tasks. Setting up gaming as a reward can make your relaxation time feel earned and even more satisfying.

This strategy also helps prevent gaming from becoming a procrastination tool, ensuring it stays a source of stress relief rather than a source of guilt.

14. Engage in Narrative-Driven Games

Engaging in story-driven games can be like losing yourself in a good book. These games focus more on storytelling and character development, providing a rich narrative that you can get absorbed in.

Experiencing a story actively, making choices for characters, and seeing the narrative unfold can be a great way to detach from personal stresses and engage in a stimulating but relaxing way.

15. Regularly Update and Curate Your Game Library

Keep your gaming experience fresh and tailored to your relaxation needs by regularly updating and curating your game library. Retire games that no longer serve your relaxation goals and try new titles that cater to your current interests and stress relief needs.

This keeps your gaming dynamic and personally relevant, ensuring each session contributes positively to your mental health.

As you see, gaming can be relaxing, so get that headset on and chill out!

Article and permission to publish here provided as Contributed Content. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on June 6, 2024.

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