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Stay calm, play on: Video games for relaxing and better mental health

You know what you could probably use right now? A break. Seriously, we don’t take enough of them. A break can sometimes be something we need to remind ourselves to do and is a skill we need to develop. It’s good for our work and, more importantly, our mental health. Fortunately, video game breaks can improve our mental health.

When stress levels increase, we need breaks more than ever. And video games aren’t just for kids. Taking a mental health break with video games can be a great way to take time for ourselves, at any age.

Research has shown there are positive impacts of playing video games on mental and emotional health. Plus, they can help bring people together and facilitate very real social connections.

Read on to learn how video games can help mental health, and how relaxing with video games can be a healthy escape.

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Build social skills through video games

Life can’t be all work and no play. We need some time away from work, studying, and the rigors of the day to relax the mind. Video games are a well-deserved reward for getting work done.

But they’re more than just something to log off with. Video games are goal oriented and can help create a sense of accomplishment. Defeating a particularly hard level or working with friends to traverse the Nether bolsters confidence. The social skills flexed during cooperative video game play bring about even more benefits. Gaming is a culture in its own right and a basis for how people connect. Playing against friends online is needed engagement, especially today. For those with kids, gaming with them is a great way to bond and help establish healthy playing habits.

  1. Engage with friends and the Xbox community with a free Xbox Live account. See what your friends are playing, share game clips and chat. Or play multiplayer games by upgrading to Xbox Live Gold.
  2. Make new friends while gaming with the Looking For Group feature on Xbox. Think of it as a “looking for players” bulletin board – a way to help find players with similar goals and interests.
  3. Set time boundaries for yourself or others. When any kind of break goes too long, it can interfere with responsibilities and turn a good thing into a bad thing. Adjust the time you spend accordingly. For kids, you can set screen time limits on their devices. Remember, it’s a reward meant for a healthy break.
Illustration of lettering reads “Stay Calm Play On” surrounded by purple stars and orange gaming icons

Relax and get your game on

Break time is needed time and we’ve got thousands of ways to help you relax. So, when you get a moment, take a video game break and start gaming. Check out the options below.

  1. Access over 100 high-quality PC games on Windows 11 with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. Download and play new games from Xbox Game Studios the day they release—plus recent blockbusters and critically-acclaimed indie games. With games added all the time, you’ll always have something new to play.
  2. Access over 500 free educational games to make learning more fun.
  3. Access over 1,000 free PC games if you’re looking for something more casual or want to explore a variety of games to decide what styles you like. See top free games.
  4. Get a PC that works and plays as hard as you do. These Windows 11 devices run the latest games so you don’t miss out on the action. Find the one that works best for you. Learn more about gaming with Windows 11.

Gaming is a great way to activate your imagination and relieve stress. With thousands of available titles across a number of genres, unwinding after a long day at school – or the office is more fun than ever.

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