Smart phones have made a tremendous impact on how we relate to each other and they serve different functions for different people. There are countless apps available to download making it no mystery why people’s faces are constantly fixed on their phones.
Smart phones are predictable and reliable. They are also convenient and portable. Smart phones provide the added benefit of assisting a person with decompression and refocusing after experiencing a stressful situation.
For those who suffer from social anxiety, they can provide a non-medicinal break from reality. They can also prove to be a great conversation starter during moments of awkward silence by affording people with the opportunity to make a connection by sharing their app preferences.
Some of the benefits of playing smart phone games include experiencing feelings of achievement, accomplishment, and progress. These emotions provide a distraction from thoughts of distress, anxiety or depression and provide the person with a form of positive feedback.
The graphics in a game provide positive visual and auditory stimuli, thereby enhancing the experience even further. With prolonged exposure and consistent progress within the game, the images become associated with feelings of comfort and achievement. Thereby stimulating an increase in the production of dopamine in the brain which is associated with feeling rewarded.
Role play games can encourage the acquisition of concrete decision making skills in individuals with a history of being indecisive. They also demonstrate examples of positive and negative socialization behaviors when the player observes how characters relate to each other.
The good news is that there presently isn’t any negative stigma associated with using a smart phone, however, nothing done in excess is ever good. The games can distract a person from completing priorities, can lead to overstimulation, and can stimulate the addiction portion of the brain. The convenience of in-app purchases can also lead to impulsive spending. An additional negative effect of overuse is that excessive play can be disruptive to sleep patterns. Other people around you may also feel neglected and engage in negative attention seeking behaviors to regain your attention. Playing sedentary games can also lead to weight gain because physical movement isn’t occurring.
There are a plethora of choices to choose from when reviewing which games are the best for stress management. The simplest way to narrow down a decision is to read the reviews left by other players. Happy gaming!
Lorenz, R. C., Gleich, T., Gallinat, J., & Kühn, S. (2015). Video game training and the reward system. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 40. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00040
Casual video games demonstrate ability to reduce depression and anxiety (2011).
Collins, E; Cox, AL; (2014) Switch on to games: Can digital games aid post-work recovery? International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 72 (8-9) pp. 654-662. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2013.12.006