Stress and Anxiety Reducing Games on Nintendo Switch – By Amber Elphick

Today is World Mental Health Day, and I still find is very disheartening how poor mental health is still viewed as a negative thing by many. Everybody can suffer from poor mental health in some way or form, whether is it anxiety, depression, PTSD etc.

I personally have suffered from mental health issues over the years, anxiety and depression mainly, and one thing that has always helped me come back were video games.

Video games can have very interesting effects on peoples emotions, whether it calms you down, riles you up, makes you happy, makes you cry, all games have an effect on you. It is an artform just like listening to your favourite music or watching you favourite film.

During my worst battles with mental health, there have been games that I always turn to, to help me escape and to enjoy peace by myself. I owe a lot of happiness and growth in my life to video games. So, for World Mental Health Day I have decided to write about 5 games on Nintendo Switch which have helped improve my mental health.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons
New Horizons, launched in March of this year, is a new addition to the Animal Crossing series. I have loved Animal Crossing games ever since I got given a DS and a copy of Wild World for Easter many, many years ago.

For those who don’t know the game, Animal Crossing is a relaxing life sim game, where you live your life in a town/island in a neighbourhood full of lovable animal villagers.

The game has such a calming effect as you can play the game at your own pace. You don’t have to rush to complete any tasks, you don’t have to do anything you do not fancy doing, you can just live your life how you want to. Due to the very relaxing nature of the game, I find it a top pick of mine to return to, no matter how I feel.

Stardew Valley
Ah, Stardew Valley. There is something so delightfully charming in planting crops and looking after chickens on your own little farm.

Stardew Valley (inspired by the Harvest Moon games) is a farming roleplaying game, where you move to a new town and take over an old farm that your grandfather gave to you. Here in this town are many friendly characters that you can befriend and learn about.

Just like Animal Crossing, you can play this game at your own pace. You can focus on solely looking after your animals, or your crops. You can befriend everyone in the the town and even fall in love, or you could ignore everybody and have a little chicken as your best friend. Because of this, it is easy to spend hours in this little world.

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
One of the first games to be released on the Nintendo Switch console, but even with all the new games getting released, it is still a go to for a lot of Switch owners.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the first open world title in the Legend of Zelda series. With this style of gameplay, you can explore a huge area without needing to even battle an enemy that could be lurking around.

One of my favourite things to do in Breath of the Wild is to just take one of my many horses on a ride and take in all the beautiful scenery, which is incredibly relaxing.

Abzu
I always enjoy games like this. Journey (PS3/PS4/PC) is one of my all time favourite games, so when I heard about ABZU at one years E3 I knew I needed it in my life.

ABZU is an underwater exploration game. There is nothing in the game that resembles a narrative, which is probably why I enjoy it so much. It is another one of those titles where you can explore at your own leisure.

Nothing says relaxing more than deep diving in the ocean and exploring all the underwater wildlife and scenery.

Minecraft
Minecraft has been dubbed one of the most popular games of all time, and that is probably because you can do pretty much anything in this game. You can go out and fight monsters and try to win the game, or you can take it easy, make a little house by the sea and make a pretty orchard, which is something I am more inclined to do.

I have been playing Minecraft for nearly a decade now, and I have never completed it. I have never felt that I needed to, or have I wanted to. I have always been content in playing the game in my own way, building a little town with some close friends and having fun.

I hope people will use today to help spread awareness of mental health, and will also share their own experiences. It is okay to not be okay, and there will always be someone around you can talk to.

I have recently become an Ambassador for Safe in Our World. I really want to spread awareness of this charity as I believe there is a lot of information people can learn regarding mental health in the video game industry and how we can battle the stigma on mental health.

Safe in Our World is a mental health charity who’s aim is to create worldwide mental health awareness within the video game industry and beyond.

They aim to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health, to make it a natural topic of discussion, and to promote the dialogue surrounding mental health so people are not afraid to reach out for help if they need it.

Please make sure you check out Safe in our World, and please never feel scared to reach out if you feel you need help. ❤️

Facebook: Safe In Our World
Twitter: @SafeinOurWorld
Website: safeinourworld.org

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