Thursday, March 27, 2008
Mind Habits might just be a video game that's good for your health. By playing just five minutes a day, you can lower your stress and anxiety and increase your self-esteem. At least that's what researchers at McGill Univeristy have shown. This is how the creators describe Mind Habit's approach to helping you reduce stress in your life:
We started with the idea that just as playing the game Tetris over and over for hours can start to shape the way you look at the world (even in your dreams!), playing a specially-designed computer game might also help to improve your thoughts and feelings about yourself
We drew on research showing that certain people have attentional biases toward socially threatening information, so they automatically focus on any sign of rejection or criticism from others, which in turn perpetuates their sensitivity to rejection and heightened tendency to experience social stress.
asked call centre workers to play a very simple game for 5 minutes before they started work. The game involved finding, as quickly as possible, an image of a single smiling face in an array of 16 photos, the rest of which showed a frowning face. The team found that employees who had played the game produced 17 per cent less of the stress hormone cortisol after their shift than those who did not play the game.
How does this translate to less stress? Researcher Michael Baldwin thinks that when you "dismiss" the frowning faces in the game, you "disengage" from stress.
The Mind Habit game itself involves selecting words that positively reinforce your self-image ("Who Are You"), picking a smiling face out of a crowd of frowning ones ("Matrix"), and clicking on smiling faces in clouds ("Grow Your Chi") among other activities. You can play the demo here.
Mind Habits Game
Mind Habits Game Options