Scientists say we should be allowed to play video games at work to help with stress

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Next time you have an appraisal or review at work, you could mention to your boss that you're going to need regular video game breaks from now on. No, really - science is there to back you up.

Playing video games in your break is actually better for you than shunning technology altogether or purposeful relaxation, according to a new study.

Researchers used a computer-based task to induce “cognitive fatigue” in participants, then gave them a five minute break to rest. In this break, they were put into three different groups. They either played a video game called Sushi Cat, took part in a guided relaxation activity, or sat quietly without a phone or computer. Their stress levels and overall mood were tested throughout the experiment, and their cognitive performance was regularly measured.

The study found that, of the 66 participants, those who didn’t play a video game reported feeling less engaged with their work, and worried about this as a result. Those who took part in the relaxation activity experienced less distress afterwards – but it was only those who played video games who said they felt better after the break.

Michael Rupp, a doctoral student in human factors and cognitive psychology at the University of Central Florida, said:

We often try to power through the day to get more work finished, which might not be as effective as taking some time to detach for a few minutes. People should plan short breaks to make time for an engaging and enjoyable activity, such as video games, that can help them recharge.

That's official advice from a scientist...

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