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Tetris helps relieve stress and anxiety


Until last winter, I haven’t played video games since my parents let me combine allowances and Christmas money to buy the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the old 8-bit home video game console with two buttons and a gray cover. At the time I could have taken or left Mario and his green-pants brother, but I would trade my allowance for uninterrupted time to lose myself in it Tetris.

The premise of the game was simple: arrange the geometric pieces known as Tetriminos as they land on the screen. Completed lines are gone. my motto? Always build with Tetris, the simultaneous removal of four lines at a time to maximize points at once, in mind. The game calmed me down, especially in the wake of a breakup or the appearance of particularly awful chin oil.

I was lying in bed at night, staring at the dark figures in my bedroom, mentally pushing the dresser or nightstand left or right to fit, TetrisPattern, with adjacent shapes. Bored at school, my eyes drifted to the rectangular door frames and exit signs, all begging to be put back in, pressed together, no gap with their peers, and melted away. Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies,” one of the game’s songs with compact vocal themes, ran happily in a loop in my mind.

When I graduated from high school, I left my Nintendo behind, stored in my parents’ family room next to VHS tapes from Full house. The only time I played Tetris After high school he was on the planes. And even then, only when the game was pre-installed in the back of the seat in front of me. nothing like Tetris To distract attention from disorders that cause stress. Aside from the flights, I haven’t played.

until 2020.

When the pandemic hit and an onslaught of anxiety and anxiety hit, I was squatting and throwing and turning and yelling at my kids more than I should. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t control my feelings. I tried to organize the closets to distract myself. In the end, there are no more T-shirts to sort by color, and no more T-shirts that are too small to load into the donation pool. You need another port.

Sometime before Christmas, while browsing for a new game to add to my kids’ Nintendo Switch game library (Mario Kart) , I found it Tetris 99. Immediately, I longed for the game of my youth.

“When we look for ways to calm ourselves, we often use a version of something that worked in the past, even in the distant past,” says Dana Dorfman, a New York-based psychotherapist, regarding my intuition to pick up the game after all those years. “It’s like music from antiquity – it can almost embody our feelings,” she says.

little day Tetris 99 The cartridge arrived, curled onto the floor in our lounge closet so my kids wouldn’t find me for a few minutes and fell into my old rhythm of flipping and stacking blocks.

According to Dorfman, when emotions are unregulated, doing something intentionally gives you a sense of control, and something you can master, gives you confidence. “The game allows you to organize the pieces that, as in life, come to you faster and upside down, so they literally leave the screen. It is like a microcosm of what you are trying to do in life, except that you do it on the screen in a much more realistic and tangible way.”

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