B-type messes & Tetris dreams: How Tetris helps my anxiety

tetris time

There’s a whole big wide world of nerd-ing that I don’t get: Gaming. I don’t like playing video games, and I don’t really like board games all that much. I’m more of a puzzle kind of girl. But I still have the very first Game Boy that I bought with my very own money. It’s “berry” (because Game Boy Color had just come out) and it only ever has one game inside of it — Tetris.

When I shared that photo above on my Instagram, I immediately got the question “what’s your highest level?” Is that like the Tetris equivalent of “how much do lift, bro?” I think so. 😉 Here’s the deal: Although I’ve been playing this game since I was a pre-teen, and I consistently beat everyone in our yearly family vacation Tetris competitions, I have NO IDEA what my highest level is. But I do remember seeing the rocket at least twice in my life.

I still keep this bad boy in my bedside table, and it’s actually one of the things that helps me manage my anxiety. You wouldn’t think that a game that gets increasingly faster and harder would help my anxiety, but for some reason it does.

Nowadays, I play the B-type levels and work on building the blocks down instead of working on leveling up. I mean, obviously I level-up as I play, but I like the anxiety-easing pleasure of un-fucking the B-type messes. Maybe there’s something about it that reminds me that there’s nothing so fucked up that it can’t be un-fucked. And if all it gets out of control, and I find a B-type mess that I can’t un-fuck, there’s always another chance to fix it, and not just fix it, but clear up the space and level up like a BOSS.

I have always liked to play Tetris before bed because it relaxes me, plus there’s the added Tetris Effect bonus. Have you ever noticed that you dream about Tetris after you’ve been playing it… like… a wee bit too much? Oh yes, it’s been proven playing too much Tetris will pattern your thoughts, mental images, and dreams! To get all Wikipedia rabbit-hole-y with it, it’s a form of hypnagogic imagery!

In short, science has proven that Tetris is the coolest game ever.

You can imagine, then, my immense pleasure when stumbling upon this bedding design on ModCloth…

tetris bedding

It’s called the “Next Level” bedding. It’s adorable. They even have that Tetris light

Building Blocks of Light

I’ll probably do a big ‘ol excited post about that stuff on Offbeat Home. But I just HAD to share it right fucking now with all mah fellow Tetris nerds.

Any of you guys as obsessed as I am? I’m totally not curious to know how far you’ve gotten, but I AM interested to know if it has had any therapeutic affects for you, and if you’ve also dreamed in tetrominos?

8 thoughts on “B-type messes & Tetris dreams: How Tetris helps my anxiety

  1. KMay

    I love tetris. I dont even know what happened to my original gameboy with it, but now I have the DS version. And I downloaded it on my phone and tablet, but those versions are weird and didn’t last long. It needs buttons to feel right. And the cleaning up feeling? YES. Lately ive been doing that with 2048, but Tetris will always the The One.

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  2. Ry

    We actually recommended Tetris and games like it for managing anxiety symptoms and anxiety from PTSD when I worked in a domestic violence center. A lot of kids and women who came in for our counseling services weren’t in a position where they could access a lot of more expensive symptom management (including medications in a lot of cases) so we had to do research and get creative. Turns out those problem solving games engage some of the same brain networks as worrying and rumination thereby satisfying the brains need to engage those systems to reduce arousal levels without accidentally increasing them by focusing on Exactly The Thing That Is Triggering Anxiety. Another popular one? Coloring. I’ve used both to manage my own anxiety, as well, and find them pretty effective- I go into a sort of Zen state after a while, or something.

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    1. meganfinley

      OMG FASCINATING! Thank you for commenting. That makes so. much. sense. Coloring used to be my jam for anxiety management when I was younger (although I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing).

      Reply
  3. Catherine

    Not playing games does not parse with my brain, but I love me some Tetris and some Megan so I’m down. I think you would beat me by a ton, though.

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  4. Wednesday

    I’m not into video games, but I recall playing tetris on a friend’s Ericsson mobile on they day we were having our final high school exams, while waiting for other friends to be done (http://www.yesterdaze.co.uk/home/2%20-%20Sony%20Ericsson%20T28s%20%20(1).JPG).
    But I actually came here to tell you that the best group Carnival costume I ever saw was a bunch of drunk guys, wearing complicated cardboard structures, while trying to smoke cigarettes, drink and just walk down the Rialto bridge in Venice. They were dressed as Tetris pieces. To give you an idea, the “L” shape was taller than the guy wearing it. it had a little window for his face to peek out. I didn’t have a camera, and ten years later I am still sorry about that.

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