Research recommends playing Tetris to combat stress and anxiety

Image via Pixabay
  • A study has found that playing the arcade game Tetris helps in lowering stress and anxiety levels
  • The study’s lead author said this is because the game is challenging enough but not that complicated so players can still enjoy and relax while playing
  • This places them in a state called ‘flow’ or being in the zone

Do you find yourself feeling stressed or anxi0us because of the uncertainty brought by the COVID-19 pandemic?  Researchers found that playing a game of Tetris can be a good distraction to help lower your stress and anxiety levels.

Image via Pixabay

Psychologist Kate Sweeny of the University of California took the lead in looking into how the game helps with a person’s mental health.

Her team conducted the study among university students who experience stress and anxiety when preparing for examinations. Sweeny instructed them to play Tetris before their relative level of perceived anxiety was measured.

Significant reduction of stress and anxiety were noted, along with a rush of positive emotions.

She explained that this is because Tetris is challenging enough to engage users but is also not that complicated so players can relax and enjoy it — bringing them to a mental state called “flow” or being in the zone, an article from Good News Network (GNN) explained.

Image via Pixabay

“Flow requires a delicate balance. 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,” GNN quoted Sweeny as saying.

This is particularly helpful during w0rrisome periods of waiting for the uncertain.

“The Tetris study is key because it experimentally manipulates flow and shows effects of that manipulation, which provides convincing evidence that flow actually causes well-being during waiting periods, not that it just happens to coincide with well-being,” Sweeny said.