This Video Game Might Actually be Good for Your Mental Health
Video games often get a bad reputation for being a source of addiction and isolation. However, not all games are detrimental to our well-being. In fact, some games, like Tetris, have been found to have surprising benefits for our mental health.
A Brief Introduction to Tetris
Tetris is a classic video game that was first released in 1984. It involves arranging falling geometric shapes to fit into a grid, with the goal of creating complete horizontal lines. It may sound simple, but the game requires quick thinking, spatial awareness, and problem-solving skills.
For many people, Tetris holds nostalgic value and is a source of entertainment. However, recent studies have shown that playing Tetris can have a significant positive impact on mental health.
The Benefits of Playing Tetris
Research has shown that playing Tetris can have several mental health benefits:
- Reducing Anxiety and Stress: Playing Tetris can help reduce anxiety and stress levels. The game requires attention and focus, which helps distract the mind from negative thoughts and worries. This can provide a temporary escape and help promote a state of relaxation.
- Increasing Cognitive Abilities: Regularly playing Tetris has been found to improve cognitive abilities such as spatial awareness, problem-solving, and critical thinking. These skills are not only valuable in the game but also in real-life situations.
- Enhancing Emotional Resilience: Tetris can help build emotional resilience by improving the ability to cope with challenging situations. The game requires adaptability and the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances, which can be translated into better stress management skills.
- Lowering the Risk of Developing PTSD: Tetris has also shown potential in preventing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A study conducted with car crash survivors found that playing Tetris within six hours of trauma significantly reduced the chances of developing PTSD symptoms.
Why Tetris Works
While it may be surprising that a simple video game can have such positive effects on mental health, there are a few key reasons why Tetris works:
- The Tetris Effect: The “Tetris effect” refers to the game’s ability to create mental imagery, even when not playing. People who play Tetris often report seeing Tetris-like shapes and patterns in their minds, which can help with problem-solving and cognitive processing in daily life.
- Dual Attention Theory: Tetris requires players to split their attention between the falling shapes and the grid, which helps divert attention away from negative thoughts and emotions.
- Simplicity and Accessibility: Tetris is a game that can be easily played by people of all ages and skill levels. Its simple mechanics and accessibility make it a game that almost anyone can enjoy, regardless of their gaming experience.
It’s important to note that while Tetris can have positive effects on mental health, it should not be seen as a standalone treatment for mental health conditions. It can be used as a complementary tool alongside other therapeutic approaches.
The next time you’re looking for a fun and engaging activity that can also benefit your mental health, consider playing Tetris. This timeless video game has shown remarkable potential in reducing anxiety and stress, improving cognitive abilities, enhancing emotional resilience, and even preventing PTSD. So, grab a game controller or open up your favorite digital platform and start rearranging those falling blocks—it might just be good for your mental health.