Anxiety can be crippling, persistent and affect anyone at any point in their lives. Whilst the treatment that works best can differ greatly from person to person, there is much to be said for the therapeutic benefits of play -- and this includes video games.
This where your smartphone can be a lifeline. Whilst not a substitute for professional advice, therapy or medication; games can be an accessible, portable way to supplement treatment. Here's a rundown of ten of the best games for assisting with anxiety treatment and symptoms.
Time Magazine Game Of The Year 2015 -- this beautiful and soothing game is a love letter to trees. With a swipe of a finger, players grow and shape their own tree, while avoiding the dangers of a hostile world. The game has beautiful, minimalist art and a super clean interface — so it's just you and the trees. Meditative music and sound design for you to zen out to.
Breath of Light, $7.99
Developed by the Many Monkeys from Melbourne, Breath of Light is a meditative and beautiful puzzle game with a hypnotic soundtrack by Winterpark. Inspired by modern minimalism combined with a range of meditative art styles, players find their zen by guiding energy rocks around the mystic garden, setting them in place and watching the energy settle into its new flow.
This award-winning game developed by Melbourne Indies, 3 Sprockets, is a game for puzzle lovers. Outfolded is an endless puzzle game where you unfold shapes to reach your goal. Relax, zone out and experiment in a never-ending series of levels, or take on the challenging daily puzzles to earn hints and pit yourself against the best.
Monument Valley, $2.99
An Apple Design Award winner in 2014, this game lets you manipulate impossible architecture and guide a silent princess through a stunningly beautiful world. In Monument Valley you guide the silent princess Ida through mysterious monuments, uncovering hidden paths, unfolding optical illusions and outsmarting the enigmatic Crow People.
This game is perfect for anyone looking for a beautiful, meditative experience mixed with puzzle solving. You can relax, take your time to look around and explore at your own pace. There are 13 enchanting levels with an original, zen-like soundtrack totalling about an hour of gameplay.
Last Voyage, $2.99
A game where you don’t master a single task, Last Voyage prompts players to explore a range of concepts. It’s a cosmic adventure through space and mind in 10 unique chapters. Go through psychedelic portals, solve abstract puzzles, explore grand minimal forms or race against the stars. A science-fiction experience unlike any other game.
Alto's Adventure, $5.99
This tranquil, relaxing game has won a stack of awards. Players join Alto and his friends as they embark on an endless snowboarding odyssey. Journey across the beautiful alpine hills of their native wilderness, through neighbouring villages, ancient woodlands, and long-abandoned ruins.
Players will feel as light as air, as heavy as a rock, or as bouncy as basketball in this unique game. Rainmaker is a minimalist puzzle game that follows the story of Tian; a child set out on adventure to discover what is causing the rain. Use the mysterious medallion to change Tian's body into different objects to solve puzzles.
Duet Game, $4.49
An Aussie-developed app enticing players to enter the mesmerising trance of co-dependence in Duet. The rules are simple: control two vessels in sync, survive against all odds and keep calm.
This beautiful and relaxing puzzle game was created using real paper. It’s easy to pick up and you’ll soon yourself deep in contemplation to perfect each puzzle.
A final note: don't ignore anxiety, and don't rely on Dr Google -- seek real life help. Visit your GP who can refer you to a local professional, or contact BeyondBlue. For more information about how gaming can help with mental health, I highly recommend giving Checkpoint a visit.