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[GUEST POST] Gamifying Stress Management

Timothy Ho
Guest Writer (TJC)
Disclaimer: Guest posts represent the diversity of opinion within the world of gamification, and the views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author. 

Let's face it, we've all been there before...

From the nervousness bubbling inside your stomach, to the hair pulling moments where we feel that we are far beyond saving, we have all been victims to stress. While there have been many efforts put in place to help people cope with stress, not all have been effective.

Introducing gamification: how can you add gaming elements to existing stress management methods, to increase their effectiveness in reducing stress?

Contrary to that belief, games can actually help improve people's mood, reduce anxiety, and help provide relaxation to people

The key (and irony) to this is controlling people’s access to games. Overexposure to games can instead increase stress levels due to the constant want for players to stay at the top of the competitive ladder. (
The game elements should be less competitive and targeted more towards individual achievements, rather than leaderboard stats. Challenges such as taking a walk outside or looking at nature/sunsets would be ideal as not only will it help to relax the mind, it can also help with one’s appreciation of nature, which has also proven to help reduce stress levels. The game should also not be too repetitive (or grindy) so as to prevent people from spending too much time on the game and in turn stressing themselves by trying to complete absurd amounts of challenges.

Stress management through apps: Aura & Headspace

Apps such as Aura ( and Headspace ( are already examples of gamified stress management methods.


The Aura app allows for users to track their data of their mindfulness. By keeping track of their progress, much like a fitness app, this game mechanic of tracking progress helps to encourage users to improve their mental state so that they are able to see some change at least, giving themselves that sense of satisfaction for improving themselves.

With the advancement of technology, the whole concept of gamification can become even more complex and provide more room for improvement to make stress management methods become even more effective. This would be a good method to help deal with stress, particularly for the younger generation, while they are focused on studies and socialising. Integrating such gaming elements would suit them better as children tend to be open to trying out new methods. (

Gamifying experiences at school to reduce stress in youths

Teachers from Kansas and Virginia, USA, have been gamifying the learning experience. These teachers often set up special handshakes, or give students the option to choose between hugs, high fives, fist bumps etc  with their teachers. Such personalized decisions that students can make to improve teacher-student relationships help to alleviate stress in students, and students can also get a sense of satisfaction from being able to see their relationship with their teachers progress. ( (

Stress may affect students and younger children more as this is their first time dealing with such experiences. Hence by gamifying their experience, we can help to reduce stress in them.

Published on 20 September, 2019

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