Stress Management Management Techniques 7 Fun Stress Relieving Activities By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD Twitter Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing. Learn about our editorial process Updated on March 10, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Medically reviewed by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print There are many great stress relievers out there, but it's not always easy to incorporate them consistently into your routine. This is where fun stress relievers come in. Fun stress relievers can be a form of self-care that you look forward to incorporating into your weekly or even daily routine. For those of us who like a little fun with our stress management, we've compiled a list of fun stress relievers along with explanations of their additional benefits. Enjoy! Press Play for Advice On Prioritizing Self-Care Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, featuring TV Host Brooke Burke, shares ways you can make self-care a priority regardless of what your schedule may look like. Click below to listen now. Follow Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts Playing Stress-Relieving Games Alistair Berg / Getty Images Playing games can be a great form of stress relief. Games have a light-hearted focus, providing us with laughter and keeping us in the present moment at the same time. One study found that strategy board games like chess helped older adults with cognitive function—improving their attention and memory. Strategy board games can also have a positive effect on anxiety and the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Other strategy board games include checkers, Monopoly, and Scrabble. Because these games can also help improve communication and motivation for learning, they're great for adults and kids alike. Try creating a game night with friends or planning family game nights. Let your inner child come out to play on a regular basis! Another study found that casually playing video games helped college students manage stress levels and reduce anxiety. The games also provided them with a distraction that helped with the uncertainty they felt about the future. 5 Fun Games to Play on Game Night Laughing A good laugh can be a great stress reliever. Laughing releases endorphins and other feel-good hormones, takes your mind off of stress, and can even provide a decent physical workout if you're laughing hard enough. It also leaves you in a more positive frame of mind and laughing together can help you bond with people. Learn more about what you find funny by watching funny movies or stand-up comedy, and looking up funny videos or memes online. While it's great to share a laugh with a loved one, don't shy away from having a good laugh all by yourself for all the stress-relieving benefits. Finding humor in everyday situations is also an adaptive coping mechanism—especially when it comes to helping you through a stressful situation. Research finds that having a good laugh can even help improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. How Laughter Can Relieve Stress Gardening Planting a garden (or even tending to a houseplant) can be a great way to reconnect with nature, beautify your space, and enjoy other health benefits. Some of the key stress-relieving benefits of gardening include getting more sunlight, being more creative, and increasing your physical activity. Research shows that having contact with nature every day can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Even observing nature, or keeping plants around your house to look at regularly, can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and relieve muscle tension. Making Art Rediscovering your artistic side with anything from doodling to serious sketching can be a good stress reliever for several reasons: It's a good distraction, it helps you express and process emotions, and it leaves you with something beautiful to enjoy when you're finished. Coloring is an artistic endeavor that has grown popular in recent years and can have stress-relieving benefits. One study found that participants who engaged in visual art-making experienced more relaxation, a desire to create more art in the future, and decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. You can try an adult coloring book, or you can do your own thing and experiment with different mediums like painting on a canvas or using clay to make a sculpture. Try not to worry whether your art is "good enough." You don't have to be a professional to make art. In fact, you may surprise yourself with how much you enjoy the process and even the finished products. How to Boost Your Creativity Listening to Music Music is a great stress reliever. It can also improve health—so much so that it is sometimes used in hospital settings to promote good health! As a stress reliever, listening to music provides a distraction and gives inspiration. It can help you get energized for the day ahead or wind down after a long day. You can use it during your commute or while exercising—really any time as you go about your daily activities. How to Use Music for Stress Relief Playing Sports Enjoying sports (anything from karate to mountain biking to tennis) can be a fun way to get exercise and relieve stress, providing endorphins, a social outlet, and a way to release frustration. There are many options to choose from, so try finding a fitness activity that you'll enjoy. Some communities have recreational leagues for sports like kickball and softball. The goal of these leagues is usually for people to socialize and even network, with the added bonus of having fun. Whatever sport you choose doesn't have to be competitive or even strenuous. As long as you are happy doing it, you will receive all the stress-relieving benefits. The Mental Health Benefits of Physical Exercise Embracing Mini-Vacations Vacations can be a wonderfully fun source of stress relief. Taking time off from your job and day-to-day responsibilities to go on a trip can help improve work-related stress and overall life satisfaction. If you find yourself longing for a vacation but don't have the time or the funds to go on the trip you desire, you can still treat yourself to a stress-relieving mini-vacation and get similar benefits without spending as much. You can also try taking a staycation, or an overnight or day trip to a place near where you live. It can be fun to take some time and appreciate the things your city or town has to offer that you might not take advantage of on a regular basis. You can even use imagery and visualization as a fun way to "be on vacation." Set aside some moments to visualize yourself in a beautiful location, such as relaxing on the beach or hiking through the mountains. Visualization is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety and boost feelings of well-being. 10 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Noda S, Shirotsuki K, Nakao M. The effectiveness of intervention with board games: A systematic review. BioPsychoSocial Med. 2019;13(22). doi:10.1186/s13030-019-0164-1 Desai V, Gupta A, Andersen L, Ronnestrand B, Wong M. Stress-reducing effects of playing a casual video game among undergraduate students. Trends in Psychology. 2021;29(3):563-579. doi:10.1007/s43076-021-00062-6 Yim J. Therapeutic benefits of laughter in mental health: A theoretical review. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2016;239(3):243-9. doi:10.1620/tjem.239.243 Akimbekov NS, Razzaque MS. Laughter therapy: A humor-induced hormonal intervention to reduce stress and anxiety. 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Front Psychol. 2018;9:1858. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01858 By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Stress Management Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.