Repetitive Game Apps: Effects on Anxiety

The focus of an anxious or depressed brain can be hard to break. There are many obstacles that keep anxiety sufferers from gaining traction in daily activities. Anxiety often takes over a person’s ability to cope with normal, progressive responsibilities. There are many behavior methods used to help anxiety prone individuals cope. Distraction can be a useful tool for some patients.

Useful Games

In depth video games with complicated goals may not be the best for this type of use. Many popular game apps, however, are simple and repetitive in nature. These are excellent for quick distraction and calming. They require little thought and can be completed with the mind on auto-pilot. An anxious person needs to calm down, but may have trouble focusing on anything complex.

Breaking the Focus

Some anxiety disorders elicit extreme concentration in a negative way. Obsessive compulsive disorder demands complete attention to minute details that most people ignore. Sufferers can get caught in a loop of checking, cleaning, and counting, Distraction with a game can be quick use method to break the focus. Those with social anxiety may be obsessing over minimal issues at a party or other group situation. The game acts as background noise for the mind, enabling the individual to quite some of the other intruding thoughts. Anxious minds are often very busy, and struggle to filter large amounts of thoughts at once.


Once the focus on the negative items is broken, individuals can move on to redirecting their attention. Instead of staying captive in a one-way tunnel, new branches of direction can be explored. Patients undergoing behavior therapy usually have basic daily goals to meet. Once they find themselves stuck on negative thoughts, the goals move further away in the mind. This is when the person needs to stop and redirect. Games and other activities can help to calm the mind during this transition.


Many calming activities involve repetitive behaviors. Rocking in a chair is the oldest from of comfort. The repetitive back and forth motion is the norm for calming crying babies. Music is a repetitive noise used in relaxation techniques. Games are a new way to introduce a calming repetitive behavior. Those without anxiety use them unknowingly every day. Many of us sit down with a game on our mobile phones to enjoy a break during a stressful day. The familiar sounds have a way of calming the mind.

Small Goals

Most games have some sort of goal. These small goals give anxious individuals something to focus on past the initial game playing time. The idea of gaining points or moving up a level can give an anxious person something to think about throughout the day. This is another way of shifting focus and redirecting. The small goals of an app or video game often allow a person to look forward to this part of their day. A little fun time can often be a positive motivator for difficult days.

Anxiety is more common in the general population than many realize. Stressful work and family obligations seem to make these ailments more prevalent. Games are readily available on most phones and tablets, allowing for easy access when necessary. This convenience allows for patients to stop what they are doing and quickly change focus or redirect themselves. The calming effect of the repetitive motions and sounds adds to the benefit. Games one of many helpful activities that can be used to calm anxious individuals.

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