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Stressed out during the workday? Playing video games can help

Many people regularly experience cognitive fatigue related to stress, frustration and anxiety at work. Given the amount of time people spend playing games on their smartphones and tablets, a team of researchers conducted a study to assess whether playing casual video games is an effective way to combat stress in the workplace during rest breaks.

In the study, the researchers used a computer-based task that caused cognitive fatigue in 66 participants, who were then given a five-minute rest. During intermission, participants either played a casual video game called Sushi Cat, participated in a guided relaxation activity, or sat quietly in the testing room without using a phone or computer. At different times throughout the experiment, the researchers measured the participants' influence (e.g., stress level, mood) and cognitive performance.

Those who took a quiet rest reported that they were less involved in work and worried as a result, while those who took part in the supervised relaxation activities had so-called reductions in negative influence and anxiety. Only the video players reported feeling better after the break.