Maybe you’re on deadline, maybe you’re concerned about an upcoming performance review, maybe you’re worried about some fancy robot coming along and replacing you and taking down all the quirky decorations you have in your cubicle. Regardless of the situation, at some point or another, you’re going to feel stress at work.
There are plenty of ways to manage stress, and plenty of ways that you may think are managing your stress, but are doing quite the opposite. One group of researchers found that the key to relieving workplace stress may be found in something more common to a teenager’s bedroom than to a corporate board room. That workplace stress solvent is video games.
The study, published by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society examined the effects that stress, anxiety, and frustration have on the cognitive fatigue of 66 participants. The participants were put through a strenuous computer task to induce fatigue and then were given five minutes to unwind.
The group was broken down into thirds, with 22 participants spending the five minutes in a quiet room without a phone or computer, 22 participants taking part in a relaxation exercise, and 22 participants playing a casual video game called Sushi Cat.
Of the three groups, only the participants who played the video game reported that they felt better after the break. The group that spent time in the quiet room reported that they actually felt worse because they felt less engaged, and in turn, became worried about their work. The relaxation group saw a reduction in the negative side effects associated with stress but were not quite as relieved as the gaming group.
We know what you’re thinking: What job lets you play video games at work? If that’s your worry, we have good news for you. Turns out, just listening to their soundtracks can make boost creativity and improve attention span.