The next time you find yourself biting your nails with anxiety, play a game of Tetris or the like. New research shows that the classic game's achievable goals will not only help make time pass, but reduce any negative emotions.
New research has found that the videogame Tetris can help you unwind when you're overly worried or stressed, as it creates a “state of flow” in the mind.
Researcher Kate Sweeny and her team from the University of California explains that “flow” is a term psychologists use for a state of mind that “makes the rest of the world fall away, and time pass more quickly”.
In her research, Sweeney found that the videogame Tetris is especially good for achieving flow, as it creates the perfect balance between being just difficult enough to not incite boredom, and just easy enough to not incite frustration.
“Flow is most readily achieved with activities that challenge the person somewhat, but not too much; have clear, achievable goals; and that provide the person with feedback about how they're doing along the way,” Sweeney says.
In her study, Sweeney had 290 students come in under the pretence of participating in a study on physical attractiveness – which is a sure-fire way to make people anxious.
Whilst they believed they were being rated, the students were asked to play Tetris for 10 minutes, at varying levels of difficulty.
The results showed that those students who played Tetris at an “adaptive” level – in comparison to “high difficulty” and “low difficulty” – were able to achieve flow and the researchers were able to measure less negative emotions.
So the next time you find yourself anxiously waiting for the results of some test, maybe crack out the old Tetris and get into the flow. – dpa