June 1, 2023 Terkel

Anxiety Relief Games: 14 Games That Will Relieve Your Anxiety

Looking for a game to help you unwind and relieve stress? We asked professionals from various fields, including SEO and Digital PR Managers to Community Managers, to share their favorite games for relaxation. From Animal Crossing to Scrabble, discover 14 games that can help you destress and alleviate anxiety.

  • Animal Crossing: A Calming Escape
  • Chess: Concentrate and Relax
  • Dobble: Fast-Paced Stress Relief
  • Journey: Meditative and Visually Stunning
  • Tetris: Therapeutic Puzzle Distraction
  • Stardew Valley: Relaxing Farming Escape
  • Soccer: Live in the Moment
  • Candy Crush: Relax with Match-3
  • Solitaire: Calming Card Concentration
  • Zen Match: Design and De-stress
  • Zelda: Explore and Alleviate Anxiety
  • Play with Kids: Stress Relief Fun
  • Puzzle Games: Sharpen and Soothe
  • Scrabble: Connect and Reduce Stress

Animal Crossing: A Calming Escape

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is my favorite game for stress relief as it has an innately calming and relaxing nature. I love to escape from real-life pressures to the game’s tranquil virtual world. The gentle gameplay, cute characters, and serene environments create a totally soothing experience.

The absence of strict goals and time limits allows me to progress at my own pace and engage in small, peaceful activities such as fishing, bug catching, and (my fave) decorating my island. I really enjoy the delightful visuals, but even more than that, I absolutely adore the sound design of the game.

The second I hear the characteristic footsteps of my character, I feel the tension leave my body. It’s really an amazing feeling. All in all, it’s a super cute, calming, and wholesome game that I’d recommend to anyone trying to escape the pressure of hectic everyday life.

Nina KrolNina Krol
SEO and Digital PR Manager, LifeAndMyFinances

Chess: Concentrate and Relax

My favorite game for relieving stress and anxiety is chess. Playing chess, I’m able to escape my troubles and concentrate on the board. You can find pick-up games in public places like parks or cafes, so it’s an easy, accessible form of escapism.

Chess requires quick decisions and strategy which helps me carry over new problem-solving techniques into real-life situations as well. The low stakes mean I don’t have to take myself too seriously, letting me relax from daily struggles while still using my brain power.

Kate DuskeKate Duske
Editor in Chief, Escape Room Data

Dobble: Fast-Paced Stress Relief

One of my favorite games for relieving stress and anxiety is Dobble. It’s a fast-paced card game that requires quick reflexes and sharp focus, which helps take my mind off any worries or stressors.

The game is so easy to learn, that you can play with anyone after a quick, 1-minute explanation. Each player starts with a pile of cards face-down in front of them and a single card in their hand. On the count of three, all players flip over the top card of their pile and try to find a small illustration on their card that matches another player’s card. It’s so simple and great!

Whenever I play Dobble, I find myself fully immersed in the game and forget about any stresses or worries I may have had before.

Natalia BrzezinskaNatalia Brzezinska
Marketing and Outreach Manager, ePassportPhoto

Journey: Meditative and Visually Stunning

I have a go-to game for relieving stress and anxiety: Journey by Thatgamecompany. It’s a captivating and visually stunning experience that takes you on an emotional journey through a beautiful desert.

The soothing music and immersive gameplay create a meditative atmosphere. You play as a robed figure, exploring and interacting with the environment and encountering other players along the way.

Communication is limited to musical chimes, fostering a serene sense of connection. Journey has received critical acclaim and numerous awards for its innovative gameplay and emotional impact.

Evander NelsonEvander Nelson
Nasm-certified Personal Trainer, evandernelson

Tetris: Therapeutic Puzzle Distraction

In my experience, Tetris is an excellent game for relieving stress. It’s a timeless puzzle game that requires quick thinking and fast reflexes, making it an effective way to distract from anxieties and focus the mind.

The satisfaction of aligning the falling shapes just right and clearing lines is surprisingly therapeutic. Despite its simplicity, Tetris requires a level of focus that pushes away intrusive thoughts and allows for a calming sense of flow.

Burak ÖzdemirBurak Özdemir
Founder, Online Alarm Kur

Stardew Valley: Relaxing Farming Escape

I find that the calming music, simple gameplay, and engaging storyline provide me with a sense of relaxation and escapism. The slow-paced farming simulator allows for a meditative experience where I can focus on tending to my virtual farm, fishing in the nearby rivers, and interacting with the charming townspeople.

The game also promotes a healthy work-life balance and reminds me to take breaks and prioritize self-care. Overall, playing Stardew Valley has been an effective way for me to unwind and destress after a long day.

Jefferson McCallJefferson McCall
Co-founder and HR Head, TechBullish

Soccer: Live in the Moment

There are few better answers to stress, in my opinion, than moving your body and kicking something really, really hard. No surprise then that I’d recommend playing soccer as a stress reduction activity.

If you’ve been playing for a while, you’ll know that when you’re on the pitch you are going to be really living in the moment. You’re not going to be worrying about what you have coming up at work or the news you got from the doctor, you’re going to be worrying about how you’re going to slide tackle the mountain currently running up the wing towards your goal without getting smushed.

Onno HalsemaOnno Halsema
CEO, Contentoo

Candy Crush: Relax with Match-3

In the popular stress-relieving game Candy Crush, matching jewel-like “candies” by sliding them together is the object of the game. The background music can help you relax, especially if you manage to earn a good grade.

Due to the game’s intricate design, it can easily pass for brain-training software. Candy Crush’s creator, King, is so dedicated to the enjoyment and tranquility of players that the opening screen shows a spinning message that includes the slogan “Escape the stress of today.”

While playing, sliding the jewel-like “candies” to produce matches can, for many individuals, promote relaxation. The “freemium” business model is used by Candy Crush; although the game is free, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to buy specialized tools, etc. Levels get harder as you advance, and some of them could require multiple tries to complete. However, Candy Crush has a high potential for addiction, so once you start playing, you’ll want to keep playing nonstop. Self-control is crucial.

Joe LiJoe Li
Managing Director, CheckYa

Solitaire: Calming Card Concentration

Solitaire is my favorite game for relieving stress and anxiety. It offers a calming experience as you play a card game that requires concentration and strategy. The simplicity of the game allows me to focus on the task at hand, helping me clear my mind and find a sense of relaxation.

It’s a great way to take a break, engage my mind, and momentarily shift my focus away from any stress or anxiety I may be experiencing. Whether I play it on my computer, phone, or with a physical deck of cards, solitaire has become my go-to game for finding a moment of calm in the midst of a hectic day.

Roy LauRoy Lau
Co-founder, 28 Mortgage

Zen Match: Design and De-stress

As game development and game art specialists, we encounter a tremendous amount of both interesting and stressful projects that require significant effort and energy. That’s precisely why there are games that can help us temporarily forget about these anxieties and relax by immersing ourselves in a vibrant casual world.

For instance, Zen Match positions itself similarly to wellness apps that are currently enjoying a golden age. The game recommends that users visit on a daily basis to boost cognitive performance and de-stress. This game perfectly combines interior design with the beloved match-3 format, which captivates without adding further stress.

I can’t believe it, but this game can engross me for several consecutive hours, and I have no regrets because after a gaming session, I feel much better.

Biz DevBiz Dev
Business Development, RetroStyle Games

Zelda: Explore and Alleviate Anxiety

The immersive world of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a fantastic anxiety antidote. The game’s vast, beautiful landscapes encourage exploration and discovery at your own pace. Its soothing soundtrack and thoughtful puzzles offer a mindful adventure that effectively alleviates stress.

Aysu ErkanAysu Erkan
Social Media Manager, Character Calculator

Play with Kids: Stress Relief Fun

To be honest, when I’m stressed there are few games that I have the patience for beyond playing something random and made up on the spot with my children. This, I’ve found, is a great way to relieve stress as it isn’t something you have to worry about following to the letter—a 5-year-old just came up with it, so largely you can do whatever you want and just focus on having fun with your kid.

It almost feels like art, in some ways, since you get to flex your brain into fun knots as you try to figure out what your kids are up to and how to best play with them on their level.

Kate KandeferKate Kandefer
CEO, SEOwind

Puzzle Games: Sharpen and Soothe

My favorite game for relieving stress and anxiety is brain-training puzzle games like Sudoku or 2048. These games require logical thinking and problem-solving, which helps keep your mind focused on the task at hand instead of whatever it is that is causing you stress or anxiety. As an added bonus, these sorts of puzzles are great for keeping your brain sharp!

David BuiDavid Bui
Director and Automotive Lead Specialist, Schmicko Pty Ltd

Scrabble: Connect and Reduce Stress

My favorite stress and anxiety reliever is Scrabble. In this game, you form words from the available tiles and strategically place them on the board.

Playing Scrabble is a great exercise for your brain, so you need to concentrate if you want to do well. Engaged in challenging mental tasks, I feel relaxed and distanced from problems. The game gives me a temporary escape from worries, as it takes my attention from stressors.

What’s more, Scrabble is most often played with others. Social interactions—whether with friends, family, or online opponents—provide a sense of connection and support, which also helps me reduce stress and anxiety.

Last but not least, Scrabble is simply an entertaining and enjoyable game. Playing it brings joy, pleasure, and an endorphins boost.

Agata SzczepanekAgata Szczepanek
Community Manager, MyPerfectResume

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