Study Shows Games Help Reduce Stress…. Seriously

If you’re feeling stressed, forget about “calm blue ocean” mantras and squishy toys to squeeze. Instead, a new study from East Carolina University says you should fire up a casual game. And since gaming company PopCap underwrote the research, scientists recommend the beneficial effects of the company’s Bejeweled 2, Peggle and Bookworm Adventures titles. Subjects’ moods were broken out into six categories: psychological tension, anger, depression, vigor, fatigue and confusion. The study found that:

Peggle had the greatest affect, improving mood by 573% across all study subjects – with Bejeweled 2 at 435% and Bookworm Adventures at 303%.

Normally, I’d be dubious about these results, since PopCap paid for the study. But I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that Peggle in the office = fun (except for that stupid car level). We used to hold Peggle tournaments when I worked at Shockwave.com, and that was the happiest place on Earth.
OK, I’m exaggerating a bit. But Peggle is actually a great spectator “sport” and this research reinforces the theory put forth by Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher in their book “The Levity Effect: Why it Pays to Lighten Up.” You can listen to the authors talk about their findings over at Marketplace.org.

Are for those Peggle faithful, check out this 13,000,000+ (yup, that many zeros) point shot:

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