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By Sarah Mackeben
A study recently concluded that playing a mobile app can help reduce stress. The research, published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, had test subjects play the app for a minimum of 25 minutes before delivering a stressful speech.
The app required subjects to trace the paths of two characters on a screen as quickly and precisely as possible. The study had 75 subjects play for a range of 25 to 45 minutes and then deliver a speech to researchers. The speech was videotaped and analyzed, which allowed scientists to determine that the subjects who played the game were less stressed and had a more positive outlook on the event.
The research was based on a new anxiety treatment called attention-bias modification training, or AMBT. The treatment tries to get patients to ignore more negative and stressful stimuli and focus instead on positive, or happy, stimuli. The mobile game the researchers used was a positive stimulus which they hoped would decrease the subjects’ focus on a negative experience, the speech.
The results provide a positive outlook on treating anxiety and helping people cope with stress. By creating mobile apps which can help combat stressful situations, anxiety patients can have an easy-to-access treatment. By having games on their phones like the one used in the study, they can easily access the positive stimuli when they are faced with a stressful situation.
The biggest question now is how short the playing interval has to be in order to be effective. Researchers are hoping to answer this question by examining whether 10-minute intervals of playing over the course of a month will reduce stress in anxiety-ridden pregnant women. The new research hopes to see less anxiety and more positive birthing outcomes.
What the app was and if it or something similar is available on the app store is currently unknown. Hopefully, the general population will soon have access to it to help them cope with their own stress. You can’t go wrong with easier access to healthcare, no matter what shape it takes!
Edited by: Avery Osborn
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