While at work, cognitive fatigue or feelings of mental exhaustion due to frustration, stress and anxiety are experienced by more than half of Americans today.
Although seemingly normal, this is especially dangerous to those working in air traffic control, health care, and other safety-critical jobs as a small error could lead to lives lost. That’s why rest breaks are important and a new study found just about the “right” way to do it.
Michael Rupp and colleagues asked 66 participants to complete a computer-based task that can induce cognitive fatigue. In the middle of the task, they were given a five minute rest break on which the participants were divided into three groups. They were either instructed to sit quietly and do nothing, play a mobile game called Sushi Cat, or join a guided relaxation activity. During the whole experiment, the researchers evaluated their affect and cognitive performance from time to time.
Results showed that those who had a silent break were less engaged with their task and consequently worried more. Moreover, those who had the relaxation activity were less distressed and reduced negative affect. Participants who played the Sushi Cat however, were the only ones to say that they actually felt better after the break.
This entails that playing mobile games during break time could be an effective way to combat workplace stress!
“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,” Rupp notes. “People should plan short breaks to make time for an engaging and enjoyable activity, such as video games, that can help them recharge.”
Guess we should start practicing short breaks for a better work-life balance then. Just remember to make it short, okay?
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