Article Note: This article “12 Excellent Gaming Apps that Reduce Depression and Anxiety” was first published on August 6, 2019. We last updated this article with fresh information on January 11, 2023.
In recent years, people’s mental health has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. The Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that this is due to an array of factors – and it appears things are only getting more concerning with each passing day. They reported the following findings:
“Between 2009 and 2017, rates of depression among kids ages 14 to 17 increased by more than 60%. The increases were nearly as steep among those ages 12 to 13 (47%) and 18 to 21 (46%), and rates roughly doubled among those ages 20 to 21.”
Depression has become a major global issue, with an astonishing 300 million people worldwide suffering from this condition according to the World Health Organization. Here in America, 16.2 million adults — equal to 6.7% of our population — must cope with its physical and mental effects every day.
The good news is that depression is treatable. Changing behavioral patterns such as physical activity and the way of thinking are all simple and natural techniques to combat depression.
Gaming and mental health – the science
The modern world has given us a unique opportunity to fight mental illness – our mobile devices. In today’s age, smartphones are used for anything from work and entertainment. However, the technology can also be employed in more meaningful ways such as treating depression. It’s an inspiring breakthrough that allows easier access to care for those who need it most!
Playing games have shown to have a therapeutic calming effect as well as a skills-teaching element that is beneficial for treating depression. Though some violent video games have lately gotten a bad rep. However, others are paving the way for recovery.
Online games and gaming apps are emerging as potential tools to help those struggling with mood-related issues. Following an in-depth study conducted by Australian and New Zealand researchers, published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Psychiatry‘, there is hope that gaming apps can be tailored specifically for depression or anxiety sufferers. These innovative solutions could open up new pathways for supporting mental health!
The results indicated that:
- Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality games offer therapeutic effects through sensory stimuli and engagement.
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)-based games challenge gamers to complete levels, progress past set milestones, or collect rewards through the gameplay.
- Entertainment games aim at improving a player’s mood, decreasing stress, and regulating emotions. They help them focus on making strategic moves.
Gaming apps that reduce depression and anxiety
Technology is driving monumental progress in humanity and it’s no surprise that as the latest applications become available, they are doing much more than just providing entertainment. From improving mental health to lessening depression and decreasing anxiety levels, gaming apps offer users an enjoyable way of looking after their well-being – a modern take on self-care!
Looking for an uplifting pick-me-up? Check out these fun online games and gaming apps – perfect for letting go of the worries that have kept you down. Why not try them now to put a smile back on your face?
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Who doesn’t imagine the absorbing and interactive gameplay of pinballs? State of Play Games has developed pinballs with a twist. As you hit colored tabs on the screen, watch as they explode into a beautiful canvas of colors. Gamers will be mesmerized by the wonderful display of hues spreading across the screen. Users often comment that it’s a challenging yet relaxing game that they immensely enjoy. The game can be purchased by iOS owners for merely $2.99.
Sinasprite, a multi-platform game, is free for download on iOS and Android. It consists of coping tools for people who are feeling down. Start by creating an account and introducing yourself to Socks the Fox. Various activities allow users to build a social circle within the app, allowing them to share experiences that they are thankful for. With meditation and de-stressing techniques, users are better equipped with skills to manage their current circumstances.
This free digital coloring book is a great way to unwind. Get absorbed in the world of colors as you paint your worries away. Complete with a set of digital colors, you can enjoy being young once again- without making a mess. There is more content that can be purchased in-app when you feel you need a tad bit more painting experience.
4. Project: Evo
Project: Evo is revolutionizing mental health therapy with its groundbreaking game-based approach. Developed by Akili Interactive Labs, this cutting-edge app offers engaging activities on any mobile device – allowing older adults dealing with depression to conveniently rebuild attention and focus through scientifically validated play sessions. It’s a novel way of taking control of your wellness!
2048 is an addictive game built on simple addition. The objective is simple- swipe tiles and merge adjacent ones that have the same number to obtain a tile that equals their aggregate. The game ends when there are no moves left, and the board is filled with numbers. Or if you’re lucky, you reach the magic number- 2048.
This mind-numbing game is perfect for blocking out everything around you. So there’s no chance of any emotional triggers disturbing you. It’s free for gameplay on all platforms.
Garden therapy on the go? Now you can find serenity in your pocket! Step into a minimalist world of peace and tranquility with our new game. Grow, shape, and nurture bonsai trees from anywhere – all it takes is a swipe of your finger to create amazing visual masterpieces set against calming music. Unlock this meditative experience today on both iOS and Android for just $3.99!
7. Alto’s Adventure
Want to discover a fantastical world of breathtaking landscapes, chill music, and epic snowboarding? Join Alto on his journey with the one-touch mobile game! Experience unique visuals that transport you away from everyday worries. Android users can grab it for free while Apple owners pay just $4.99 – but don’t miss your chance at guiding Alto down an endless terrain full of surprises!
8. SPARX (Smart, Positive, Active, Realistic, X-factor thoughts)
SPARX is an innovative, free online game that can make a real difference in your life. With its captivating fantasy universe and seven levels of puzzles, quests, and adventures – SPARX teaches players essential skills to manage mild to moderate stress or depression using therapeutic techniques based on cognitive behavior therapy.
You’ll begin by taking a personality test followed by customizing your own character before embarking upon the journey! As you complete tasks and earn rewards along the way –you’ll develop valuable everyday life skills allowing you to reclaim control over this period of uncertainty! So join today for some heroic fun while learning beneficial new abilities – all with no costs at stake… except maybe undefeated dragons ;)
9. Traffic Racer
Get ready for an exhilarating experience with Traffic Racer! Indulge in the jaw-dropping 3D graphics and customize your dream ride to race down tracks of your choice. With speed at heart, earn cash rewards as you navigate treacherous traffic conditions on all platforms – free of cost!
And if that wasn’t enough, a few money-saving in-app purchases are always available. Make haste – it’s time to hit the roads and score big points whilst racking up those sweet wins!
10. Pokémon Go
Have you ever heard of Pokémon Go? It’s not just a fun game, it also promotes good health! The simple goals in the game give players something to strive for and encourage them to go outside. What makes this augmented-reality-based app even more unique is that it’s free on iOS and Android platforms – so there’s no excuse not to enjoy some fresh air while Pokémon hunting. So get out there — you never know when Pikachu will sneak up on ya!
11. Monument Valley
This visually pleasing puzzle game at first glance appears to be an optical illusion. And your task is to navigate through this illusionary adventure. The gentle chimes and beeps within the game’s audio alongside the basic color scheme have a calming effect on players. There’s no stress at all. So enjoy solving each level at leisure. Guide your princess through a world of stunning architecture. You can find Monument Valley on the App Store and Google Play for $3.99.
12. Solitaire Bliss
Looking for a game that allows you to focus and build concentration? Solitaire card games are great for this and the Solitaire Bliss app available on iOS and Android offers these games for free. Choose from thirty solitaire card games to play, including classic Klondike, spider solitaire, Pyramid, FreeCell, memory, and more.
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Gaming is undergoing a transformation of epic proportions. We now have access to countless new platforms, allowing us to engage with technology in more meaningful ways than ever before. Not only that, but the advent of mobile phones means treatments for common medical conditions are becoming easier and simpler – making life better for gamers everywhere!
Mental health is becoming a priority for many, and people are seeking out more holistic options beyond traditional drugs to help manage depression and anxiety. Technology has gone so far as to develop innovative gaming apps specifically tailored toward improving mental well-being!
Game time has never been more accessible or enjoyable! With reasonably low prices and an ever-growing desire to play, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the show – so why wait any longer? Let’s get gaming!
This article is written by Audrey Throne from Unlimited Gamez. She is the mother of a 3-year old and a professional blogger by choice. Audrey is passionate about lifestyle, business, automotive, technology and management and blogs frequently on these topics. Follow her on Twitter.