Can something as simple as a game of Tetris help keep trauma from causing PTSD? Can it truly help mental health disorders? Scientists seem to think so.
According to a 2009 research study by the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at Cambridge, they believe playing Tetris after a traumatic episode could be the answer to thwarting PTSD.
Fifty-six participants were made to watch distressing public safety videos, they had never seen before. 24 hours later, they were asked to look at still images from what they viewed. Half the study participants played twelve minutes of classic Tetris, while the other half did nothing but reflect for the same amount of time. Those who played Tetris did not have the amount of intrusive memories as those who didn’t play. Trauma causes long-term formation of intrusive memories and this study indicates that playing Tetris can block that formation. Results were published in Psychological Science journal.
Yet another study targeted individuals who already had PTSD. The study used Tetris video game playing time, along with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, to increase the regions of the brain that shrink under trauma. Tetris has been showing that it is growing that area and reducing PTSD symptoms. AMAZING! According to this study, 20 minutes of Tetris game play is helpful and scientists are also setting up game consoles in emergency rooms in order to help those who had just gone through something traumatic, like a car accident, domestic violence, or a house fire. Researchers are also furthering their studies to see what other mental health issues can be helped by playing the Tetris video game.
So, do you suffer from PTSD or anxiety? If so, see if playing 20 minutes of the game helps? I am no psychological expert, but I believe the focus, coordination, and sense of order of Tetris can definitely help. It can also relax you, as well as possible kick in dopemine (pleasure chemicals), which can only help! Also, what I call “zoning out” can temporary mentally disconnect you and give your body a break from the hypersensitivity of anxiety and PTSD. Mentally checking out is not necessarily a bad thing — it can be a protection, because our own body can require it of us.
Ever heard the history of the game Tetris? No??? Go here, to watch about this dynamic game. Tetris’ early creation did spurn a study in Russia, concerning addiction. Watch here:
With my PTSD and TBI, my neurologist suggested puzzles and I instantly thought of my love for Rubik’s Cubes. I have always loved block games, which is what attracted me to Tetris in the first place. The colors and shapes and order of things are what stimulate our brains! The brain’s firing when trying to solve cube games builds new neural pathways, repairing the injury, and keeping our brains younger. Maybe it can even combat Alzheimer’s!!! As we age, our brains shrivel. Fight the shrinkage!!!
Want to try twenty minutes of daily Tetris therapy? Tetris.com offers the ability to play on your smart phone for free. Spoiler alert: there are ads, but they are quick and not annoying. If you want to play on your desktop or laptop computer, you can play a retro version. Go to https://tetris.com/. The link for the retro version is https://tetris.com/tetris-e60/. You won’t regret it! FREE THERAPY FOR EVERYONE! If anyone needs me, I’ll be happily munching my daily 1/4 cup cashews (in lieu of Prozac) and playing 20 minutes of Tetris! Enjoy and be [mentally] well!!!