Study shows that Video games reduces chronic stress
A recent research carried out from the University of Central
Florida shows that playing video games in a high-pressure work environment
reduces chronic stress.
Focusing on those in taxing working environments, such
as soldiers and doctors, the study aimed to find out whether video games can be
used to alleviate the strain chronic stress puts on people’s mental wellbeing
Those who work long,
irregular hours in very demanding roles are particularly prone to experiencing
these symptoms. Stress-related chronic fatigue causes both personal unhappiness
and diminished performance. Against the backdrop of a working culture that
demands ever more productivity and efficiency, the University of Central
Florida study set out to understand whether video games can be a cost effective
way to reduce stress and its attendant problems.
In this study, the researchers used three methods of rest – a
break, guided meditation and playing video games – to assess the effectiveness
of video games in reducing stress and restoring cognitive functions. Breaks
from work and meditation are already known to help in these areas, but the
researchers argued that both may be impractical for highly demanding jobs, (an
assumption that is useful for the purposes of the study but could be contested).
The researchers measured how much each type of rest reduced stress,
boosted mood and improved fatigue-impaired cognitive functioning. Simply having
a break was found to be the least effective method, while meditation positively
influenced both mood and stress levels. While no method increased cognitive
functioning, it was discovered that playing
video games had the most positive impact on stress and mood, and also
helped with the employee’s task engagement.
The conclusion was that brief intervals of gaming, at ten minutes
or less, “has the potential of improving employee productivity and efficiency
and therefore improving a company’s profitability”. However, the study’s
short-term nature and small scope has inherent limitations.