Welcome back to UD Daily News. The latest research suggests Tetris can help reduce anxiety levels because it gets us into a “state of flow.”

This finding comes from Kate Sweeny, a psychologist at the University of Calfornia.

According to Sweeny in an interview with NPR, “the state of flow is one where you’re completely absorbed or engaged in some kind of activity. You lose your self-awareness, and time is just flying by.”

Her study discovered that when waiting for potentially life-changing or undetermined news, absorbing yourself in a brain game could help cope with uncertainty. For her research, Sweeny and her colleagues had college students rate the attractiveness of their peers. In her interview with NPR, she said, “I know it’s kind of cruel, but we found it’s a really effective way to get people stressed out.”

While waiting for their results, some students played a slow, easy version of Tetris. Some played a fast and challenging version. The last group enjoyed the classic version where it adapts the player into a “state of flow.” Sweeney’s research provided fruitful results.

Every group experienced some level of anxiety. According to NPR, however, the last group showed “slightly higher levels of positive emotion” and “slightly lower levels of negative emotion.”

“It wasn’t a huge difference, but we think it’s noticeable,” Sweeney said in her interview with NPR. “And over time it can add up.”

Tetris isn’t the only way to cope with anxious situations. Any activity that induces a “state of flow” or “grabs your attention” can increase your happiness levels. For Elizabeth Dunn, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, it’s mountain biking.

“Even in tough moments, we should push ourselves to do something challenging to get us out of the moment,” Dunn said in an interview with NPR. “Go mountain biking, or rock climbing or have games night with your friends where you play really challenging games.”

Or, try a round of Tetris.

Let us know how you handle stressful situations. What sorts of new or challenging activities do you want to try?

Vocabulary

Tetris (n.): A tile-matching puzzle game playable on video game consoles and mobile devices.

Anxiety (n.): A feeling of worry or nervousness.

Self-Awareness (adj.): Having conscious knowledge of one’s own character or feelings.

Stress (n.): a state of mental or emotional strain.

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