Stress Management Games

Stress management games can be played indoors or outdoors, and can exercise your brain or body. The idea is to engage yourself in something that completely makes it impossible for you to be distracted by whatever it is you are stressing about! Many individuals as well as team managers and group therapists use games to help themselves or those around them reduce stress and handle feelings of anxiety or fear. Some games are appropriate for solitary play, while others depend on interaction with others to add competition and contact to aid in the process.




Indoor Stress Management Games

Non-violent, non-chasing video games, such as:

a. Online games - Farmville, solitaire, etc

b. Games on mobile phones - balloon bursting, mind power, etc

c. Games on small gaming systems - sims, virtual pets, home decor, etc

d. Multi-player online games - including chess, scrabble or cards

  • Solitaire card games or domino games
  • Crossword puzzles, word games, Sudoku

  • Darts, basketball with crumpled paper and a wastebasket

  • Chess, checkers, group board or card games, charades


Outdoor Games for Stress Management

Ball games (you can play against yourself, in pairs or in a group):

  • Basketball
  • Tennis
  • Soccer
  • Touch Football
  • Flag Football
  • Baseball
  • Volleyball

Team building games Relay races, sprints, etc (exercise releases feel good endorphins)

Frisbee, catch, jump rope, jacks, marbles (kids' games are great!)

Why Games Help Relieve Stress

The theory behind using games as a stress management technique is the same as using meditation, stress relief exercises , or guided imagery - the goal is to divert attention away from whatever is causing the stress and give the mind, emotions and physical body a break.

Focused meditation requires narrowing the world to one observable thing - a sound, object or thought/mantra that can fill the mind and leave no room for anxiety. Guided imagery deliberately focuses on a happy daydream, letting it take over and become 'real' enough to calm nerves and create feelings of safety and happiness. Likewise, mental or physical games can release endorphins that create a happy feeling as well as one of energy. You can clear your head from clutter and focus on something active instead, and when you 'win' you get a feeling of confidence and success. This is one reason why it is very important to choose games you can win at, so you don't become frustrated and even more tense, defeating the purpose of the game.

Start small, with easy word puzzles, or simple challenges (how many baskets can I make in a minute?) then try to surpass yourself by just a little each time. You can make a game out of almost anything if you compete against yourself. Set small goals, and watch yourself grow as you meet and exceed them.

This is a great way to lower anxiety levels and build self confidence at the same time. You can actually alter your state of mind by playing stress management games, and over time you will learn to turn off anxiety as soon as you pick up a ball of paper to shoot at the wastepaper basket in the corner.

Self-esteem from stress management games


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