Most of us carry around our cell phones like a safety device, relying on them to wake us up, keep us connected with friends and family, get information, and communicate. The multitude of apps on our phones help us do all this, and now they can even help us with our well-being.
This is good news for everyone who generally associates cell phone usage with increased stress levels.
It’s not an inaccurate assessment; high mobile use has been linked to a decline in mental health well-being, resulting in sleeplessness and depression in adults.
But now we know that it’s all about managing the amount we use our cell phone — and what we use it for.
There is an abundance of apps for both iPhone and Android users that help decrease stress. Many of these apps come in the form of simple mobile games designed to emphasize relaxation and provide anxiety relief.
Video Games and Stress Relief
At some point or another, we’ve all pulled out our mobile device and scrolled through social media as a way to take a mental break. It’s relaxing in a mindless kind of way.
If you’re looking for another form of relaxation without the sometimes mind-numbing clutter of social media, video games are an effective option.
Even further, it turns out that games that require focus but don’t incorporate competition help stimulate the parasympathetic system, which activates the relaxation response. These video games provide an immersive experience that can take away negative thoughts and emotions for a moment.
For those who experience anxiety, video games provide a place for the mind to wander in a healthy, manageable way. Simple, relaxing games can also give users a brief boost in confidence as you are motivated to complete tasks on your own.
A surge of confidence in your skills can decrease anxiety levels and help you trust yourself in completing your other difficult projects.
Among all the mobile games to choose from, here are a few of the most relaxing and best anxiety-relieving apps to download. These games have been designed with pleasant aesthetics, calming sounds, and simple mechanics to invoke the feeling of flow.
Monument Valley is a visually pleasing puzzle game that looks like M.C. Escher’s optical illusion paintings. Your role is to navigate through these puzzles.
In addition to the bold and simple colors, the game’s audio design helps to create a calming effect with its gentle chimes and beeps for correct movements.
You’ll not only enjoy solving each level but you might find yourself taking extra time to discover the world this game has created.
Breath of Light
Breath of Light is an aesthetically pleasing mobile game with a hypnotic soundtrack. It’s a puzzle game that claims to promote a meditative zen state.
Your job is to rearrange stones and bring the world to life. It’s simple and you’re under no pressure to complete each level. You can rearrange stones in your own way, at your own pace while letting the music lull you to inner peace.
Download Breath of Light through iTunes.
If you want an even simpler mobile game, try Prune. The game is as simple as its name. You’re in charge of a digital bonsai tree; your job is to “cultivate what matters” and “cut away the rest.”
The game design uses a more monochrome color palette than the other two games but the results are just as pleasing. Shape and cut your little tree as it grows with simulated environmental elements like wind and sunshine.
If you need a game with clear goals but enjoy calming repetition, try Dots. All you have to do in Dots is connect the dots to create a six by six rectangle. Later levels get tougher but you’ll fall into a flow with the first few levels.
Additionally, the colored dots will change as you complete the grid, resulting in a pleasant and smooth animation.
While these applications are not necessarily video games, they will still provide stress relief at your fingertips.
Coloring books have become popular in recent years as a way to invoke your inner child and create a mental pit stop for the mind.
Now you don’t have to carry around your own coloring book. You can download an app to imitate the experience.
Colorfy provides various templates for you to color on the go, or upload your own drawings and splash color onto them.
Inks combines the playfulness of a video game with the calming feeling of coloring.
Using a pinball, you’ll bounce through different mazes while leaving behind a rainbow of colors.
It’ll challenge your puzzle skills and fulfill your need for creativity.
Unfortunately, it’s only available in the Apple iTunes store for now.
Naturespace: Holographic Audio
We’ve talked about the power of audio design in the games to lull us into a state of calm. Naturespace is an app that is just sound: the calming sounds of nature, perfected.
Naturespace spent decades to record unique and authentic sounds from all over the world.
Naturespace is free, though you’ll have to pay to access their whole catalog.
Just turn it on, put on your headphones, and let the sounds of nature bring you into a better state of mind.
Take a Break and Breathe
We all face stress, tension, and anxiety throughout our days. It’s in your best interest to remember that you deserve a break.
Taking a break not only gives you a moment of calm but can actually help you refocus and be more productive in your problem-solving.
Your phone is a powerful device that can give you reprieve from the stresses of your day. With a simple touch on the screen, you can give our brain a break that it needs in a fun, challenging way.
The devices work with a Spire app to monitor your health while reminding you to breathe and engage in mindfulness exercises for better overall well-being.