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Study: Playing Video Games at Work Reduces Stress

Stressed? Go, play!

Playing Video Games at Work Reduces Stress
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Our day to day life is jam-packed with the things we like to do and things we don’t really enjoy. Undoubtedly, amidst all this, stress becomes a major part of our everyday life. Students, office-goers, parents and everyone can become a victim of this.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a beneficial side to stress as it helps us develop the skills that we need to manage potentially threatening situations. However, no one can deny the potentially serious health consequences of stress. When prolonged or severe enough, stress can make an individual feel overwhelmed and out of control. There are many victims of stress all across the globe. Some of them even suffering from serious psychological distress severe enough to require medical treatment. To add to the fright, those who are the most affected, often can’t afford general medical treatment.

Researches and studies are constantly being carried out to understand the depth of the circumstances surrounding stress and it’s hazards. A new research carried out on office-goers to study what causes them stress and what can be done to relieve them of it, a new finding has been brought to light. The antidote had been with us all along: video games! yes, video games!

According to the new report, published by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, more than half of Americans regularly experience cognitive fatigue related to stress, frustration and anxiety while at work. This research also found out that, those individuals who work in safety-related critical fields—such as health care and air-traffic control—are at an even greater risk of cognitive fatigue, which could lead to many errors and hazards at work.

Certainly, there have been studies that have linked playing video games to violence and other problems including addiction, obesity, social isolation, postural defects. However, counter studies to prove that video games are not fatal were being carried out religiously. In that context, this study has come forward claiming that playing video games at work will help to relieve stress.

Michael Rupp, a doctoral student in human factors and cognitive psychology at the University of Central Florida, and the co-authors of this study, decided to evaluate whether casual video game play during rest breaks is an effective way to combat workplace stress. in order to do this, they used a computer-based tasked to induce cognitive fatigue to 66 participants. They were then given a 5-minute break. The rest break was utilized to make the participants play a video game called Sushi Cat, perform a guided relaxation activity or sit quietly in the testing room without a phone or a computer.

Throughout the experiment, the researchers measured the participants’ stress level, mood and cognitive performance. They found that only those who played the video game reported that they felt better after the break. Those who took a silent rest break felt they were less engaged with work and experienced worry. And those who were in the guided relaxation break saw reductions in negative affect and distress.

Now, to quote Michael Rupp:

“We often try to power through the day to get more work finished, which might not be as effective as taking some time to detach for a few minutes. People should plan short breaks to make time for an engaging and enjoyable activity, such as video games, that can help them recharge.”

So, what are you waiting for? It’s safe AND beneficial to play video games at work!