In an increasingly stressful world, it is helpful to have lots of anxiety-reducing strategies available to us. One popular suggestion is to try meditating- “to focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation”. However, when you are feeling anxious, no matter how hard you try to clear your mind, the worries just keep popping in. At this stage, you’re not ready to meditate traditionally. Instead choose other activities to help focus your mind, such as going for a walk, reading a book, colouring in or playing games.
Playing Games for Mindfulness
Playing games helps to take your mind off your worries by giving you something to focus on. When anxiety creeps in, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to do anything, so be prepared. Perhaps you enjoy solving puzzles, crosswords or playing cards. If so, add a puzzle and cross workbook and a pack of cards to your anxiety-reducing tool kit.
Relaxing Online Solitaire Games
An even easier way to have anxiety-reducing games ready to play at the touch of a button is to bookmark your favourite solo gaming website or game. Even at your most anxious, you will be able to quickly find a game, that you know and love, that relaxes you. You can start to play immediately and let your worries go as you relax on the game. Here are five of my favourite stress-relieving online games:
Teach a child to play the popular card game, Solitaire, and they will never be bored in their own company. As well as battling boredom, Solitaire is also a great game for calming the mind because it puts you into a light meditative state. I find this especially so when I play online. Whether it’s because the setting up is done for you or the satisfying noises as you play, playing solitaire online is an enjoyable experience. I prefer to choose the Classic Solitaire game with the sound on (you can also select off). If I’m playing for fun I will choose the 3-draw game but if I need to relax I choose the 1-draw version as this is easier and therefore less frustrating. As you’re playing to relax rather than “win” if you cannot go any further then just start a new game. Play, relax and enjoy. There are also other versions available including Spider, Pyramid and Golf but Classic is my favourite.
There have recently been studies showing that playing Mahjong can benefit your mental health. The popular tiles game is also good for improving memory and could help to keep dementia at bay. Mahjong is very similar to the popular children’s game, matching pairs. Combine 2 of the same mahjong stones to remove them from the playing field. You only can use free stones. A free stone is not covered by another stone and at least 1 side (left or right) is open. On this site there are many versions available, I find the Panda Mahjong game most relaxing because I love pandas (they are so cute!).
3. A Daily Crossword
The older generation had it right by starting the day with a daily crossword in the newspaper. Declines in the sales of newspapers no longer have to mean a decline in the number of people doing their daily crossword. It’s well known that completing a crossword decreases anxiety, just sitting down, relaxing, and thinking of something else (the crossword clues) can provide the perfect distraction the brain and body need to reach a state of comfortable calm. I found Solitaire’s Daily Crossword puzzle particularly relaxing. I like that the correct letters appear in green and the incorrect ones in red. When you’re choosing to do a crossword to relax, mistakes can be frustrating. There are also satisfying sound effects. The daily crossword can be printed out if preferred.
If you prefer creative games, you may find the daily Nonogram more relaxing. It’s a bit like a cross between a logical puzzle, colouring in, cross -stitching and diamond art. If you miss a day you can choose to go back to that day if keeping a streak is important to you. It’s very stress relieving with relaxing music and sound effects.
5. Tetra Blocks
Tetra Blocks is based on the classic arcade game. National World state that: “The game’s repetitive and immersive nature can lead to a calming and trance-like state of mind, similar to meditation or mindfulness practices”. Personally, I find it’s a great game for taking your mind off worries for a short time, so it’s great to play when waiting for an appointment etc. However, because it’s a fast and tense game I don’t find it as relaxing as the other four games mentioned above.
Online Games to Relax
I hope you find some of these online games relaxing. Of course, they cannot solve your problems in life. However, by taking our minds off the problems and relieving the anxiety, they can help us to become stronger and deal with our problems more productively. We all need to relax and take time out of our busy schedules. There are also more good relaxing games to look out for, such as Hidden Object and the popular Sudoku.
Which online game would you play to relax? Does gaming help relieve your anxiety?