If you’ve ever wondered how video games can help you de-stress, look no further. Studies have shown that playing games can have a calming effect on the body, and a game can give you a much-needed break from daily stressors and rumination. Even better, a game can help you build positive feelings. The key to getting the most out of your gaming experience is to tune into your emotions both during and after a game. Casual games are likely to be less stressful than more intense games.
Effects of video games on stress levels
Researchers have demonstrated that playing video games induces cardiovascular stress. However, they have not yet studied the full range of salient stress responses, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and negative emotions. The study incorporated the Biopsychosocial Model of Challenge and Threat, in which participants were given instructions describing situations that elicited positive or negative responses. Participants played a fighting game called Mortal Kombat or a puzzle game called Tetris, and their stress responses were measured by heart rate variability, systolic blood pressure, and ratings of positive and negative emotion.
The researchers concluded that casual video games may reduce stress by alleviating physiological and emotional reactions to stressful events. The findings of the study suggest that the effects of online games on the levels of chronic stress are small, but they are promising. The authors of the study cite a study by Han et al. that reports that pro-gamers spend an average of nine hours a day playing a video game.
Effects of video games on mood
One recent study suggests that video games are linked to depression. It found that playing violent video games is significantly more likely to contribute to depression than playing non-violent games. Researchers believe this is because playing violent games increases the fight-or-flight response, and reduces feelings of empathy and prosociality. These findings are inconsistent, however, and the authors acknowledge that some of the research may be biased due to betboo publication bias.
Moreover, violent video game content predicts cardiovascular stress responses. The General Aggression Model states that aggressive video game cues produce internal aggressive states and increase arousal. This partially explains the findings of the study. Although players of fighting games did not report higher aggression-related emotions, they did show a greater response to the game’s aggressive cues. These findings suggest that playing violent video games may influence cardiovascular stress responses, although a greater cardiovascular response was not detected in this group.
Effects of video games on physiological stress
Previous studies on the effects of video games on physiological stress have indicated that they can induce certain levels of cardiovascular stress. However, these studies did not measure all salient stress responses, such as heart rate variability and systolic blood pressure. The present study tested whether playing video games can induce cardiovascular stress by using the Biopsychosocial Model of Challenge and Threat. Participants were given instructions on assessing perceived threat and challenges and then asked to complete tasks related to Mortal Kombat and Tetris. The outcome measures were heart rate variability, systolic blood pressure, and positive emotion ratings.
The type of video game played and duration of play are significant factors in predicting the effects on the human body. Researchers are currently studying the effects of video games on physiological stress, as they may offer a useful tool for understanding the impact of human behavior. While video games are not a substitute for professional or family counseling, they can provide valuable research data on human development. In fact, video games may enhance mental and emotional health.