So, you’re feeling anxious. You’re looking for some way to relieve your overactive mind from all the constant and invading thoughts you keep having because it’s really bringing you down. Lucky for you, there are many video games that help for anxiety and you can completely immerse yourself in another world – this is almost guaranteed to help take your mind off your problems. At least, for a short while (or, in many cases, if you have nothing else to do, – hours)!
We will be focusing on AnxietyPanda’s Top 3 categories of games, highlighting 2 best recommendations in each genre respectively. Please drop us a comment if you wish to share the games that you use to relax your mind. AnxietyPanda would love to expand her library, and, of course, your input could be valuable for any of the other readers here too!
Games That Help For Anxiety – 6 Enjoyable Examples
Without further ado, let’s explore some of the most enjoyable video games available to you today. Gaming, in moderation, is a safe and fun way to let go of some pent-up energy and relieve the stress that you had built up inside of you. By immersing yourself in the experience, you will even find that you forget about being anxious for the time and so you will also give your brain a breather from all the worry! Triple win!
Casual Gaming – Anytime, Anywhere
You can literally take casual gaming anywhere because most of them are playable on any device, portable or not – PC, Tablet, Laptop, Android or iOS. There are many available in this genre! Match-3’s (Candy Crush Saga comes to mind there), or Puzzle games like Tetris and other varieties such as Sudoku or Word-Finds, you name it. This category usually has something for everybody!
Our focus, however, will fall on the next two games you will also find under this category, with many variations – mostly free, some paid:
Hidden Object Games
This is by far AnxietyPanda’s favorite type in this genre.
You’re greeted with a scene filled with random stuff everywhere and you have to find the objects, provided on a list, in that scene – usually within a certain amount of time, but most have a free-mode, where you can just relax, search and find away. Some come with extra mini side-games, like a jigsaw puzzle or a quick match 3 sessions to get you to a next level before you start searching for objects again. Most also follow a story-line, which always keeps it interesting and gives a bit of immersion.
See some gameplay below 🙂
The above video is just one out of thousands that are available and is shown here to give you an example of what you can expect. They will each have their own unique styles, side-quests and relaxing soundtrack and ambiance. It’s up to you to pick one that you like best. AnxietyPanda recommends Uptasia, available for free on Steam, as this one also has elements of your Tycoon type games, which is another mind-relaxer that came a close second to the genres listed here.
Try the following links for access to thousands of these types of games – most you can play in your browser and don’t even have to download anything.
Find Hidden Objects on STEAM
Find Hidden Objects at BIG FISH GAMES
Find even more Hidden Objects at HIDDEN247
AnxietyPanda remembers being completely flabbergasted the first time she came across this game many years ago on her “TV game” console.
There were no instructions, so I had to figure it out by trial and error. At first, me playing the game consisted of millions of random clicks, blocks, and, quite honestly, frustrations. I didn’t realize that the tiles where stacked, either, but I remained determined to master it. I was only 8, though, so don’t judge too harshly XP
I’m not sure why my common sense did not kick in at the time, because as soon as I figured it out, it was blatant how obvious the rules where which is probably why it didn’t come with instructions in the first place… Hated at first, because I did not understand, it now has become a super favorite go-to for stress and worry relief.
You get a set of 144 tiles, arranged in various layouts and facing upwards so you can see the pictures on them. You then pair up all matching tiles and remove them from the formation. You can only match tiles that have at least one side free and no other tiles placed on top. The game is won when you have cleared all the tiles. It doesn’t sound like much, but the relaxation it brings will speak for itself.
Here’s some gameplay 🙂
RPVG and MMORPG – Live Any Reality
This genre is by far a favorite for AnxietyPanda. You can completely immerse yourself in another world and be anything from a Nordic Fire Mage to an Underworld Dark Nemesis, the choice is yours.
A standard RPVG (Role Playing Video Game) is usually played by yourself against other NPC’s (Non-Playing Characters, i.e computer-generated characters). There is a storyline to follow and side-quests to complete. Open-world RPG’s are the best and few things beat the exhilaration of uninhibitedly exploring your virtual world with virtually no consequence.
An MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) is an RPVG that is played online together with others from around the world, hence the name. Having the same concepts of a regular RPVG, MMO’s offer you the bonus of socialization and communication. A double necessity to ease anxiety whammy! You get to escape your worrying thoughts AND you get much-needed socialization. Just try not to get caught up in live-chat dramas. Although most communities are friendly and helpful, there will always be a few sour-pusses who may make things horrible for you. In fact, find a kin or a guild as soon as possible and completely ignore open world chat. Only speak to your mates. That will make it a lot easier to avoid potential drama. We’re not saying that there will NEVER be drama between teammates, but the occurrences of such events will surely be much less and also less stressful if any.
The Elder Scrolls Series (Standard RPVG & MMORPG)
At the time of writing, this series has a set of 5 main games in the RPG series and, since 2014, also available as an MMORPG. We are anxiously (good-anxious) awaiting the arrival of a 6th main game in the near future!
In this open-world game, you will portray someone who will become a hero to the people of Tamriel by destroying some evil threat – each main game is set in a different region of this continent. The world is rich and beautiful with species of humans, elves, orcs, khajiit (cat-humanoid cross), argonian (lizard-humanoid cross) and more! The game comprises many forms of fantasy – be a magic-wielding mage or bring down a large dragon. The lore and story are incredible and with an active modding community, you will be sure to feel completely immersed in your gaming experience – forget about all your worries for a while!
AnxietyPanda was introduced to this series with its 3rd installment – Morrowind. It has the most beautiful soundtrack of the lot, thanks to Jeremy Soule, and, though not the best graphics compared to the 4th and 5th installments, definitely great, interactive gameplay.
Here’s a video on the evolution of the graphics and gameplay to give you a better perspective:
If you’ve never played any of the games in this series before, AnxietyPanda recommends that you start with number 5. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it is the most advanced and “user-friendly” for beginners out of all of them.
In order of release, here are the different games in the series:
The Elder Scrolls: Arena
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
And the DLC:
The Elder Scrolls III: Tribunal; Bloodmoon
The Elder Scrolls IV: Knights of the Nine; Shivering Isles
The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard; Hearthfire; Dragonborn
The game is also available online as an MMORPG:
The Elder Scrolls Online, also with expansions such as Summerset and Morrowind adding new explorable places for you and your friends to adventure in!
Guild Wars 2 (Beginner- and End-game friendly MMORPG)
This game is probably one of the most beginner and anxiety friendly ones that you will come across in this genre, especially if you’re just starting out. The community is helpful and non-toxic 99% of the time. The storyline is impressive, filled with incredible lore that really gets you emotionally involved, while the soundtrack is epic and soothing, relaxing and adrenaline rushing, but mostly soothing and relaxing – extremely well written with another high five to the composer – Jeremy Soule. He has departed from the franchise, however, and the latest expansions contain equally incredible compositions by Maclaine Diemer and company.
You will traverse the continent of Tyria, as you fight to reunite the members of the guild of Destiny’s Edge in order to fight off the threat posed by the Undead Elder dragon, Zaithan.
Here are the races:
From left to right: Asura, Human, Norn, Char, and Sylvari. Each customizable in their own unique ways and offer you different personal storylines and perspectives of Tyria.
And here are the professions:
- Revenant – exclusive to expansions
Simulation – Recreate any scenario
This is a great genre for relaxation and stress relief. There are so many varieties available that these days you can simulate almost anything imaginable, from swimming deep down in the ocean(as you will see below), to cooking up a storm and running a restaurant (Any restaurant management game), to simulating actual human day-to-day life (The Sims Franchise).
Go on an underwater journey with Abzu. Adventure and beautiful new discoveries and creatures await as you swim deep down in the majestic ocean. With a relaxing soundtrack, you’ll be sure to be calm within minutes.
You will take on the role of a deep sea diver and explore your vast oceanic surrounds, filled with aquatic plant and animal life as well as ancient technological devices and ruins. You can interact with many things in the environment and there are also puzzles to solve here and there. You can even sit on some pedestals to just observe everything in peace! The Best part is that you can ride some marine animals and each area has a set of hidden collectibles.
Much like the Sim City Franchise, you will be building and managing a city. Making sure your residents have the necessities like water, electricity, and places to work, you will steadily grow and nurture your tiny town into a large bustling and functioning city. As your population grows, you will gain access to larger roads, fire stations, police stations, medical and educational facilities, better zoning, beautifying attractions like parks to name but a few! You can collect taxes to help you prosper and you can also purchase additional land in order to grow even larger. Managing the transportation systems is rather tricky, but other than that, most things are smooth sailing.
Overall a great game that will be sure to take your mind off of your worries as you focus on assisting the people of your town towards prosperity!
What’s Your Favorite Game That Helps You To Unwind?
AnxietyPanda has shared her favorites with you and now it’s your turn!
Do you have a go-to game you like to turn to when you are stressed out or feeling anxious? Be sure to let us know in the comments below! We are always happy to learn of more games that help for anxiety and/or stress.