A few months ago, I had a bad day.
My mind was playing its own version of Connect the Dots — chaining together negative thoughts and bringing back past painful memories.
To combat my state of gloom, I tried a few “calming” activities, like deep breathing and listening to music, to no avail.
Then I remembered something I had recently heard on the podcast “Note to Self.”
In the episode, game designer Jane McGonigal and host Manoush Zomorodi discussed how casual phone games, such as Tetris and Candy Crush, can be used to combat stressful emotions.
I decided to give it a go and quickly downloaded Bejeweled Stars onto my phone.
Within a few minutes of playing, my mood began to improve. I found myself fully engaged in figuring out the different strategies that I could use to complete each level.
Choose a game that is interesting enough, that won’t get boring for you after passing only a few levels, and in the same time, not that hard, so you don’t quit shortly after installing it.
The researches have confirmed that after only 10 minutes of playing some simple game, such as “Tetris”, could help you in everyday dealing with the stress, chronical pains, and even posttraumatic stress.
Jane McGonigal has confirmed this in her book named “SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver, and More Resilient”. She clarifies that the simple games are taking our attention, or they discourage our thoughts of negative things that are surrounding us.
Simply, the focus is moving to a game success and beating the game itself, and the “black thoughts” and stress, are going away slowly.
The cheerful colors, music and the simple, but fun tasks in the games, like for example “Candy Crash”, could affect feeling of fullness, success, excitement and in the end, calm. Briefly, the games are surprising the negative thoughts, and only the positive emotions are coming to the surface.
Some people like puzzles and strategies, and some are enjoying in games that ask for quick thinking and reflexes. It’s up to you to choose which game suits you best, and ten minutes will be enough for you to feel a change in the mood.