Man looking stressedNo matter what line of work that you do, you’re going to have days where you feel like ripping out your hair and screaming at somebody. We’ve all been there. Before you melt down or do something stupid that lands you on the evening news, it’s probably a better idea to relax with some stress relief games.

Yes, there are some common techniques like squeezing the ubiquitous stress ball, but there’s something inherently more appealing and more satisfying about turning everything into a game. And that includes how you choose to deal with your daily stresses. Of course, what could be a great way to relieve stress for one person could just as easily be a source of added stress for someone else. That’s why we’ve come up with a good assortment of stress relief games; there’s bound to be something in here that will work for you.

Whether you choose to relax with pixelated bloody violence or you’re more inclined to let your mind wander with some brain training, putting your mind at ease will let you work harder, smarter, and more efficiently. And perhaps you can enhance your efforts with a stress-reducing drink too.

SpellTower

Screenshot of SpellTower

SpellTower

Available through the iTunes App Store for $1.99, SpellTower is a great game for people who want to relax with words. If you enjoy games like Scrabble, Bookworm, and Boggle, you’ll feel right at home here. A stack of letter tiles slowly fills the screen and you have to connect adjoining tiles to form words. This can be almost Zen-like and it might even make you smarter as an added benefit.

Link: SpellTower.com

Happy Wheels

Happy Wheels game

Happy Wheels

Indulging in some of our baser instincts can oftentimes put a smile on our faces. Happy Wheels is such a stupid game, but that’s precisely why it can be a source of stress relief. It’s filled with funny, slapstick violence that will help you laugh and shrug off whatever problems you may have in the real world. You ride different vehicles in a side-scroller fashion, smashing heads and causing all sorts of senseless havoc along the way. This kind of game doesn’t have much in terms of lasting appeal, even though there are many levels to enjoy, so it is best to indulge in relatively brief sessions.

Link: TotalJerkFace.com

Curveball

Curveball

Curveball

A great way to relieve stress is to focus on something else. This deceptively simple yet addictive game lets you play a 3D version of air hockey against a computer-controlled opponent. The ball bounces away and toward you in a three-dimensional space, bouncing off the four walls of the playing field. By moving your paddle during a hit, you can even add “curve” to your shots, aiding in your efforts to get the ball past your opponent. Each level gets progressively more challenging and, as a result, progressively more satisfying.

Link: AlbinoBlacksheep.com

Path of Exile

Path of Exile Online RPG

Path of Exile

Offering a great sense of escapism is Path of Exile. It is a “dark fantasty action RPG with visceral combat” that you can play for free online. It really is that “visceral combat” that will make this one of the better stress relief games for people who enjoy pummeling virtual monsters in a virtual world. There’s plenty of blood and gore. Fans of games like World of Warcraft will find the same kind of persistent escapism in Path of Exile, as well as the same kind of “where did the time go” experience.

Link: PathOfExile.com

Plants vs. Zombies

Plants vs Zombies screenshot

Plants vs. Zombies

Defending the world against the undead does not necessitate buckets of blood, guts and gore. This more playful take on the zombie apocalypse offers a great deal of stress relief by way of satisfying progression. You get an increasingly diverse set of plants to protect your home against an increasingly diverse variety of zombies. The puzzle elements are compelling, the gameplay is creative, and humor can be found throughout the game. Even better, Plants vs. Zombies is available on just about every platform under the sun, including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, PC, Chrome, Mac, Xbox, and more.

Link: Popcap.com

NeuroNation Stress Relief Games

Quick Calculator Game on NeuroNation

NeuroNation Calculator Exercise

I know. Going back to school isn’t exactly my idea of relaxing either, but the 21 different brain training exercises at NeuroNation can also be thought of as stress relief games. They’re similar in some ways to Brain Age on the Nintendo DS.

You know how studies show that physical exercise, like going for a run, can be a great way to reduce stress? Stress relief by way of mental exercises can be equally effective, especially when you are offered a range of activities that keep your mind sharp. This way, you can be better equipped to handle the stresses of the world too!

Link: NeuroNation.com

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga iOS App

Hatha Yoga for iOS

Compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad, Hatha Yoga by Bendyware is a $9.99 mobile app that lets you bring the yoga studio to wherever you may be. You don’t need any fitness equipment, nor do you have to pay for expensive instructors. Some people may argue that yoga exercises aren’t exactly stress relief games, but it’s undeniable how effective yoga can be in relieving stress and putting both your body and your mind back in balance.

Link: iTunes

Desktop Tower Defense

Desktop Tower Defense

Desktop Tower Defense

When it feels like you’re never going to find the bottom of your inbox, it might be a good time to fend off an endless swarm of invaders in a great tower defense game. This browser-based game gives you several different turrets and weapons to deploy, strategically placing them to defeat the incoming horde of circular “creeps.” This really helps you get your mind off of whatever is stressing you out.

Link: Kongregate.com

Image credit: Jasmin Merdan / Fotolia

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