Fun and Games

Stress happens.  It is inevitable. For me, this week was filled with it.  But rather than list all of the tribulation – rather than compiling a “woe is me list” of everything that went wrong – my plan is to talk about what I did to make it right.

The Element of Stress

For someone with fear and anxiety issues, stressors can be everywhere.  Many of these are irrational thoughts which have somehow tricked the mind into believing that they are real; thereby manifesting actual, physical symptoms. As I have discussed before, one of the keys to coping with these anxieties is to block the input to the brain.  In other words: distract yourself with pleasant things and the nasty ones will fade away.

Well guess what?  All fear – all stress – is NOT irrational.  Some stress stems from real life problems that simply do not fade away; and our goal is not to run away from these things.  But – and this is a big but – we can deal with how the body copes with them in exactly the same way.  (Woohoo! Now you don’t have to learn a new technique!)

Play Time

Months ago I mentioned some of the coping techniques: meditation, prayer, listening to music, playing an instrument, exercise, etc., etc.  But today I would like to focus on the therapeutic benefits of GAMES.

Games have been around since the dawn of woman/man when OG defeated TROGG in DODGE ROCK, (not exactly a fun game if you ask me, but since balls had not yet been invented, they had to improvise). This game did not catch on for two reasons: 1) they did not have band-aids (or doctors) yet, and 2) the population began to dwindle. For group fun, PIN THE TAIL ON THE T-REX came along; but that also died out for the same two reasons.

Life on Earth was pretty grim until after the Bubonic Plague ended.  It was right about that time that playing cards were invented (okay, so I am making this up – sue me).  Before that they only had sympathy cards (hand made of course) and no postal system to deliver them.  People went door to door handing out the cards to the families of the newly-deceased, also sharing food and drink to ease their pain (astute readers may see the correlation between visiting houses and the spread of the disease – just a theory I have).

Modern Times

Today we have lots of games.  If you don’t believe me, check your phone – and your computer – and your video game console – and your television. In fact, we may have too many (I will leave that for another blog). But I am not here to denigrate games; I am here to praise them.

Games are a wonderful way to lower blood pressure and de-stress your life (unless you are a fan of the Syracuse Orangemen – look it up). Games can help you to briefly escape the turmoil of the day until you are relaxed and have recouped enough strength to move on. For a person such as myself (anxieties and OCD) I find that card games are among the most relaxing. There is something soothing about putting cards in order (similar to how cleaning is therapeutic) and strategy games occupy my mind in ways that I enjoy.

It’s all a matter of input control and balance. Games block the flooding of input and stress into the system, thereby giving it a chance to re-charge its batteries.  When one is done playing the games, they feel refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.

So, do not be afraid to include games in your life.  They can do a body good.  Just be careful not to drift away into Gameland forever, even though it might sound like fun.  This world needs you, too!


About Joe

Freelance designer and writer whose goal is to help others by writing about my experiences with fear and anxiety (agoraphobia), health struggles (cancer) and my wonderfully-happy life as a husband and stay-at-home dad. I want to empower everyone to have a happy life.

4 responses »

  1. MCS Gal says:

    I like games and puzzles, maybe too much. While games de-stress me, they also cause me stress. I purposely didn’t put or activate any games on the computer I got last year. Sometimes I miss playing FreeCell but for me one game would turn into 30 minutes or an hour. Instead I do the puzzles in the newspaper.

  2. Colleen says:

    In my family it is rare event that we get together and not play a game of some sort. I hope you have a stress free day. 😀

  3. Maggie/Tumbleweed says:

    Sometimes games can become very stressful when playing with aggressive people who HAVE TO WIN and it doesn’t matter how. At those times, I find it de-stresses me to throw the game pieces.(At least that is an improvement over the rocks thrown by your imaginary primitive games.)

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