Home Mind & Brain It’s Proven: Word Games Help Reduce Stress

It’s Proven: Word Games Help Reduce Stress

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According to a study published in the journal Archives of Razi Institute, engaging in computer-based word games has been shown to reduce stress levels. The research involved participants playing a puzzle game, and the findings indicated a significant decrease in salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase levels – biomarkers associated with stress.

Moreover, the study revealed improvements in attention, mental health, and sustained attention after playing the word game. This suggests that word games could be a beneficial and enjoyable way to alleviate stress and enhance cognitive functions.

Let’s discuss in detail how word games reduce stress, providing a range of benefits to boost mood, language skills, and cognitive abilities. 

How do word games help reduce stress?

Word games are designed to be fun and useful, offering a wide range of benefits to boost mood, cognition, and vocabulary. 

Let’s suppose you are an adult constantly spending time on a dull work routine. Nothing engaging or entertaining. Sooner or later, the no-fun workload is very likely to trigger your anxiety levels. This ultimately causes stress.

What can you do to escape this work stress? Simple: play word games.

Whenever you get free time, such as during a lunch break, play your favourite word game. There are many brain-teasing games popular amongst the masses, such as Scrabble, Wordle, and the NYT Spelling Bee. The most popular game is the New York Times spelling bee. You might get stuck at some point and feel demotivated. In order to overcome that feeling of demotivation, try switching to a different game or activity for a brief period. This can help refresh your mind and give you a new perspective when you return to the challenge.

It can divert your mind, stimulating your cognitive abilities. Your mind will be all focused on solving the word challenges, leaving no room for work stress. This will be even more engaging if you involve your work buddies in the word game. All your worries will be gone, and there will be only fun, interaction, and entertainment.

It will be more beneficial if you keep playing word games now and then, taking short breaks from a stress-inducing routine.

Overall psychological benefits of word games

If you are engaging in word games, then several psychological benefits contribute to stress reduction:

  • Cognitive engagement and distraction. Word games provide a distraction from stressors, allowing the mind to focus on a task that is engaging but not stressful. This shift in focus can be a powerful tool for stress relief, giving the brain a break from worrying about sources of stress.
  • Improvement in mood and reduction in anxiety. Completing puzzles and finding the right words can offer a sense of achievement and satisfaction. This success, no matter how small, triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward, which can improve mood and reduce anxiety levels.
  • Boost in self-esteem from achievement. Regularly engaging in word games and experiencing success in solving puzzles can also boost self-esteem and confidence. Over time, this can contribute to a more positive outlook on life and a better ability to manage stress.
  • Scientific evidence supports word games as stress relievers. Research into the benefits of word games on mental health has provided encouraging results. Studies have shown that engaging in cognitive activities like word puzzles can reduce stress and improve mental health outcomes. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that adults who regularly engage in word puzzles perform better on tasks assessing attention, reasoning, and memory.

While most studies have focused on long-term cognitive benefits, the immediate stress-relieving effects of engaging in mentally stimulating activities like word games are well documented. Overall, the participants reported lower stress levels and an improved mood after playing word games.

Practical tips for incorporating word games into daily life

Incorporating word games into your daily routine can be simple and enjoyable. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Choose the right type of word game. Explore different types of word games to find the ones that you enjoy the most. Whether it’s crossword puzzles, word searches, or digital games, the key is to find games that are both challenging and enjoyable.
  • Set aside dedicated time for word games. Just as you might schedule time for physical exercise, consider setting aside specific times during the day for word games. This can be a relaxing break from work or a calming activity before bed.
  • Use word games as a social activity. Engaging in word games with friends or family can increase the stress-relieving benefits, adding a social element that can further boost your mood and reduce anxiety.


Word puzzle games are good for more than just fun. They help with words, language, and thinking, and they can lower stress. These stress-reducing games significantly influence brain function, especially in the frontal cortex, which is essential for decision-making, problem-solving, and attention.

Tim Williamson, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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