Posted on Aug 03, 2017, 7 a.m.
Researchers found that playing a casual video game during rest breaks can help revive mood in response to workplace stress.
According to new research, half of Americans say they experience mental fatigue while at work. These symptoms may be due to anxiety, frustration, or overall stress. People in demanding or high-stress jobs such as in health care or air traffic control are at an elevated risk of burnout. Researchers decided to find out if casual video game play could help ease workplace stress levels during rest breaks. The study was published online at SAGE Journals.
In the study on cognitive restoration using casual game play, the researchers used 66 participants who went through a series of tedious tasks on computers with 5-minute breaks. Three groups of participants had these choices during the rest break:
*played a video game (Sushi Cat)
*sat quietly without any activities
*joined in guided relaxation
Periodically during the experiment, measurements were taken including mood, stress level, and mental performance. The results of the 3 tests showed that participants who took a silent break experienced anxiety, whereas those who joined in guided relaxation had a reduction of stress, but the people who played video games reported that after the break they felt better.
According to a doctoral student in psychology and lead author Michael Rupp, people try to power through each work day despite the fact that this may not be an effective approach. Taking short timeouts to relax and play video games can help people recharge their minds before going back to work.
Michael A. Rupp, Richard Sweetman, Alejandra E. Sosa, Janan A. Smither, Daniel S. McConnell. Searching for Affective and Cognitive Restoration: Examining the Restorative Effects of Casual Video Game Play. Human Factors, 2017; 001872081771536 DOI: 10.1177/0018720817715360