How Gaming Can Reduce Anxiety: It’s Science!

For many, many years eyes have been cast down on gaming, with it considered bad for you and fattening the nation’s children up. And while there is perhaps some truth to that, very few people seem to shout about the fact that gaming can also be good for you. And there’s science behind that claim to prove it! 

There have been many reports undertaken to try and establish whether gaming can reduce stress and anxiety and it turns out that it certainly can. So it’s no surprise to see the gaming industry bigger and better than ever before…

At present, we live in a world filled with anxiety, depression and illness, with the likes of addiction increasing dramatically over the last few years, encouraged by the pandemic. The number of people checking into a rehabilitation centre is multiplying, but what’s interesting is that therapists and experts in the field are forever identifying new methods to guide people through their recovery.

The likes of equine and art therapy have really come to prominence in recent years. So, could we see gaming therapy?

The science certainly suggests it may be an option. 

One of the main reasons for that is it provides an escape, in exactly the same way partaking in sport would or throwing yourself in arts and crafts. It offers up a different focal point, away from day-to-day life and provides the engaging escape a person is looking for. 

A study found that can reduce stress and anxiety in a number of ways, including

  • Enjoyment and engagement reduces stress
  • Can increase feeling of competence with rewards for working through levels
  • Gaming releases dopamine which will improve mood
  • Can create a flow state, which is similar to meditation
  • Can help create meaningful social connections, meeting like-minded people

Of course, where that may fall down is with the social element of gaming, and there are undoubted question marks over the damage that can be done to a person’s mental health through gaming, with sexism, racism and sexual harrassment still prevalent in the online version of gaming. Which naturally could have the opposite effect for someone who is looking to gaming to calm nerves, stress and anxiety.

Therefore, it may mean that offline gaming is the answer and as the gaming industry progresses, alongside new practices of relieving anxiety, we may see a further cross over with games specifically designed to quell anxiety, which would prove hugely popular indeed.