Jo’s Journal: How Playing Games Can Relieve Stress


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Jo’s Journal: How Playing Games Can Relieve Stress

While Bringing You Back Down Memory Lane

by Joanne Troppello


“By playing games you can artificially speed up your learning curve to develop the right kind of thought processes.” – Nate Silver

I am a child of the 80’s, a Gen-Xer. I was more into writing, reading, and playing Manhunt or Capture the Flag outside with my siblings and neighborhood kids than interested in playing video games. However, my parents bought us an Atari console and I remember fun times with my siblings playing Pac Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Hangman, Brain Games, Asteroids, and 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe.


My husband, also a Gen-Xer loved hanging out at the arcades with his friends. His parents got him and his brother a Nintendo gaming console. He enjoyed playing games on the console and at the arcade. Some of the games he liked playing are Commando, Contra, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Dig Dug, Defender, Qbert, and Galaga.


Playing Games to Relieve Stress


I have used games as a way to relieve stress. One of my favorite types of games to play are brain games like word searches, cross word puzzles, and card games like Solitaire.


When we spent time with my husband’s family, we often played Gin Rummy. My husband and his family played the Italian card game, Briscola. He had tried to teach me how to play that game, but I haven’t quite grasped the concept and the rules. However, I’ve seen him, and his extended family play it regularly, and they had so much fun and there were lots of laughs.


When we get together with my extended family, we have often played our favorite board game, Clue. My sister has even organized murder mystery dinners where we listened to clues for the game via audio tape and each of us were characters in the game, reading our parts from the game play book. We also loved playing Gin Rummy.


All those experiences have one thing in common—they have served to relieve stress for all the participants. Now, I didn’t take a survey every time we’ve played and asked how well the games relieved people’s stress levels. Yet, the fun atmosphere, laughs, and good-natured fun said it all.


According to SelfGrowth.com, there are three different kinds of games that can relieve stress.


  • Outdoor Games – Playing games outside like soccer, tennis, basketball, manhunt, capture the flag, or doing outdoor activities like walking or hiking.

  • Indoor Games – Playing card games like Gin Rummy, Solitaire, Hearts, or board games like Monopoly, checkers, chess, Life, or doing puzzles.

  • Online Games – In this increasingly digitalized world—especially after this last year with stay-at-home mandates due to Covid-19—you likely have been staying home more, which is the ideal opportunity to play online games, and connect with others online in group gaming opportunities.


A study completed by M.W. Dye, C.S. Green, and D. Bavelier (Increasing Speed of Processing with Action Video Games), and reported in Very Well Mind, studied 1,614 gamers to identify stress levels after playing online and video games.


They found that many of the gamers played games on their computers as a way to relieve stress. The study results showed that “games are indeed used as a coping tool after exposure to stressful situations and strain, and that this ‘recovery experience’ is a significant facet of the gaming experience.”


My Experience with Online Games


You can relax and relieve stress by playing free online video games at Plays.org. One thing I dislike about many online gaming sites and apps is that you have to deal with those annoying ads.


When you play games on Plays.org, there are no ads or ad retargeting to annoy you. Just a fun time playing logic puzzles like Hero Rescue, or taking a trip down memory lane playing Pac Rat (inspired by Pac Man) or Super Tetris (inspired by Tetris).


I’m not the best gamer or most competitive when playing games of all types, but I like how playing online games on my laptop or mobile devices—when I need a break from family responsibilities and assignments as a freelance copywriter—can help me to relax and relieve stress. Playing games is a simple way to focus on something other than your problems and responsibilities. Just make sure you don’t get too addicted—that could become a problem!


As with everything in life, I believe in balance. You need to balance work and life responsibilities. It’s important to find a balance in exercising and eating a healthy diet. You also need to find a balance in implementing the right stress relieving activities into your day. Maybe playing online games can become that stress reliever for you.


“I don’t know grammar but I do know that I love playing games on my phone.” – Paul F. Tompkins

Are you someone who enjoys playing games on your laptop or mobile devices? Does playing games help to relieve your stress levels?


About the Author


Joanne Troppello at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel. Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel. Check out MSS Live Well Corner.