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How Smartphone Gaming Can Reduce in Stress

how smartphone gaming can reduce stressSmart 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.

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.


How Smartphone Gaming Can Reduce in Stress

Anjail Ameen-Rice, LCSW

Anjail Ameen-Rice is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Staten Island, New York. She oversees a practice that utilizes evidence based psychotherapy which integrates Christian Counseling, when requested. Her clinical experience includes several areas of behavioral health, including behavior intervention counseling, couples counseling, family therapy, youth and adolescent psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy and alcohol and substance abuse counseling. In addition, she has many years of experience in supervision of Licensed Master’s degree in Social Workers and Mental Health Counselors.

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APA Reference
Ameen-Rice, A. (2018). How Smartphone Gaming Can Reduce in Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 3 Sep 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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