Could Chess or Sudoku help anxiety?
New studies have shown that brain-intensive logic puzzles like sudoku or crosswords may be effective at lowering anxiety and stopping overthinking people from worrying too much. The studies have shown that playing these games lowers the anxiety more than watching tv or Netflix.
A researcher of this study, published by the University of UK Berkeley suggested that anxiety doesn’t necessarily increase with harder tasks, she says it is actually the opposite.
This study actually reached the conclusion that anxious folks performed equally well compared to others, when they faced challenging/demanding logic puzzles that require a higher level of concentration. They however needed a bit more time than others to complete the easy tasks. Could it be that anxious people give the same level attention and seriousness even to the most simple tasks?
This slower time to response to puzzles that did not require full concentration was followed by a reduced prefrontal cortex blood flow, this area of the brain serves as the Head of Deparment in areas such as Memory, Thinking and Planning.
The puzzles in this study were simple ones mainly consisting of recognition of letters which were given to around 20 people. And the blood flow in the “fight or flight” section of the brain was measured via MRI. The study pointed out that this center of the brain impaired the ability to concentrate even if it was not over active, this indicates that the anxiety coupled with lower concentration must be studied in another area of the brain.
As a way to keep accurate scoring, the difficulty of the puzzles was taken into consideration. The difficulty of the puzzle and its correlation with distraction and anxiety was observed. This study pointed out that about 1 in 5 adults in United States is affected by one or more form of anxiety disorder.
If you want to read the full study open the Study Link Here.