Back in 2011, a study run by East Carolina University scientifically proved that casual gaming can relieve stress and improve wellbeing. Some of the moods measured in the study included psychological tension, anger, depression, vigor, fatigue and confusion. The results yielded significant findings and identified potential therapeutic applications of casual games as a means of addressing serious mental and physical disorders.
Dr Russioniello, director of ECU Psychophysiologu Lab and Biofeedback Clinic reported "I've conducted many clinical studies in the area of recreational therapy in the past, but this was the first one seeking to determine the potential therapeutic value of video games. The results of this study are impressive and intriguing, given the extent of the effects of the games on subjects' stress levels and overall mood... these exciting results confirm anecdotal evidence that people are playing casual video games to improve their mood and decrease their stress, and herald casual games' potential in health promotion, disease prevention, and treatment of stress and mood-related disorders. So much so, we're currently working with developers who are creating games to reduce post-traumatic stress in the Marine-Corps".
So can soldiers play games to reduce stress?
With an increase in military post-traumatic stress issues and recent soaring suicide rates, the U.S. Marine Corps have begun using exercises based on mindfulness ie a Buddhist-inspired concept to better handle stress. Also, in August this year, the US Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) launched a new web-based tool, "Relax Relax", designed to help reduce psychological and physical wear and tear through deep relaxation and offers techniques to help reduce stress. With scientific studies proving casual games assist in stress reduction, it makes perfect sense that we'll also see the addition of games used by the miltary for this purpose.