A device called the PIP uses biofeedback and video games to help Type A personalities “switch off”
Video games and the people who enjoy them have gotten a bad rap lately. Just witness the whole ugly Gamergate phenomenon.
But did you know that playing video games can alleviate stress and depression?
Now, a stress-busting device uses biofeedback as well as the power of video games to calm you down.
The BBC reports that a new biosensor device called Pip, measures your sweat and electro-dermal activity to give you feedback on how stressed you are.
Everyone’s a winner in this game
You can also play a number of video games, like Relax & Race or The Loom. The calmer you are, the better you do. Playing these games teaches you to notice when you are stressed and observe yourself as you self-soothe. In this way, you learn to control an aspect of your physiology that you are not usually aware of. The constant feedback helps you teach yourself calming techniques.
“After a couple of days,” one woman told the BBC, “I had stopped taking relaxing medication.”
“This was a surprise to me,” she said, “it was a great tool for helping to slow down your body and mind, a great substitution for relaxing medicine.”
The Pip is produced by a Dublin start-up called Galvanic. The device works together with an app that is available both for iOS and Android. It raised $100,000 on Kickstarter last year.
Researchers have discovered in recent years how video games can relieve anxiety. They do this because they allow you to enter a psychic state without requiring you to invest much effort but you’re not bored either. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which can alleviate stress.
One hypothesis for this mental health benefit is that people in Westerm societies have trouble “switching off.” They need just the right amount of mental stimulation –neither too much nor too little –to achieve a relaxed state and this is what video games provide.