Chuck Norris challenges you to beat his score

Reveals how game technology is being used to improve mental health.

In last week’s column, I suggested that we all join in with the spirit of Positive Thinking Day and find the time to dedicate a day or more to exploring and contemplating the positive. If you did no more than think about it and jot down your thoughts, you probably received a benefit. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that people who got into the habit of just writing down three good things that happened to them every week demonstrated a significant rise in their sense of happiness, and it could last for weeks. The study also found that participants who wrote letters of gratitude to others didn’t even have to mail them to get a boost in happiness.

Yet many of those who greatly need this boost are often the least likely to seek it. There are millions of people in this country who suffer from severe psychological distress and neither seek nor receive mental health services. In addition to the stigma attached to mental care, the treatments are often time-consuming, expensive and difficult to access. Today under-treatment of mental health problems has become a global problem.

To address these challenges, psychological researchers are turning to technology in a quest to find alternate treatment delivery systems that can be more affordable, accessible and, most of all, engaging.

According to research published in Clinical Psychological Science, this engagement may be found in the technology-induced phenomenon of gamification.


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