Tetris Proven to Act as Positive Reinforcement

It is so easy to feel less productive and fall into old habits, or worsen current habits when you have downtime. And we know you have a lot of that lately. Luckily, experts are now saying you can supplement your anxious habits (smoking, nail-biting, etc.) with a simple video game. Ease your anxiety or curb unhealthy cravings with an old fashioned game of Tetris. This game has been addicting since its introduction in 1984 and Tetris is now proven to act as a positive reinforcement in players’ lives.

Tetris Proven to Act as Positive Reinforcement

Researchers from the University of California found that playing Tetris actually has a positive effect on one’s performance and mental health. The university’s students were studied during times of heightened stress, such as during final exams and as graduation was approaching. After playing the game, the students’ levels of perceived anxiety were measured. In almost all situations, psychologist Kate Sweeny found that overworked students experienced a reduction in stress and anxiety and displayed more positive emotions after playing Tetris for just a few minutes. It may seem counterproductive to have students wasting time on a video game, but Tetris is more of a challenge than standard console games and keeps players stimulated, reducing anxious thoughts and feelings. The game draws students in and forces their brain to focus, helping them to forget about the stress they were currently experiencing. This is not the only study to find evidence of the benefits of Tetris – a 2009 study proved that the game improved a person’s well-being in a short period of time. Further research found that the decades-old game is effective in breaking people of their bad habits.

More Tiles, Less Cravings

Some people can rely on their own willpower to quit their unhealthy habits such as smoking, over-eating, nail-biting, etc. It may take 21 days to break a habit, but experts believe that playing Tetris for just three minutes could cut cravings by almost a quarter. The visual stimulation should provide players with a “boost for willpower.” Experts are confident that Tetris has been proven to act as a positive reinforcement for people trying to break a habit. Because cravings only last for a few minutes, Tetris acts as an outlet for people who are trying to resist giving in to their cravings. After defining what they were craving and how badly, participants were divided into two groups: one playing Tetris, the other “waiting for the game to load.” After three minutes, the group that played Tetris experienced 24% weaker cravings than the group who waited for it to load but ultimately did not get to play. This retro game is easily accessible and is a neutral activity that could have a positive impact.

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