Enhance Mental Wellness with This Mobile Game

A new mobile game that is being played by thousands of people is much more than just entertainment. That’s because this new game helps to ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Mood Bloom, a community building game  was developed by  the Israeli startup Hedonia, and incorporates a proven therapy that can actually change the way people think, reported NoCamels.

According to the company website, playing Mood Bloom has actually been proven to reduce symptoms like dwelling on negative feelings up to 45 percent after only six to eight weeks of playing. This is a new and effective way to treat thought disorders.

How it works
Mood Bloom uses Facilitating Thought Progression (FTP) to disrupt and break the destructive thought patterns of people that are  caught in the cycles of anxiety and depression, according to the website. Long periods of depression can result in the loss of neuronal volume, actually causing your brain to not function properly.

FTP was developed by a team of neuroscientists led by Professor Moshe Bar and is the result of years of research in the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. A  2011 Harvard Medical study found that cognitive activities could train your brain to rebuild neural pathways and improve creative thinking and mental health.

While the researchers used word association, it is not the only cognitive activity that can  promote expansive thinking, according to a blog on Psychology Today. One of these is mobile games. And that is the path that Hedonia chose.

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About Mood Bloom
The Mood Bloom app is similar to other city-building games and can be downloaded from app stores to use on android and iPhones, according to No Camels. The user is required to play mini games to earn virtual money to purchase homes, farms, and infrastructure for the city. The app uses FTP and AI built into the games.

“What we’re trying to do is use games that instead have strong retention, as people play them over and over again,” Ohad Barzilay, chief product officer at Hedonia told NoCamels. “We take techniques from mobile games and employ them in a way that helps people stick with the program long enough for it to have an effect on them.”

Each of the five mini games on Mood Bloom focus on a different aspect of FTP. Word chains require the player to build a chain of five words from the bottom of the screen. Each word is related to the first one and helps the player to focus on circular thoughts. One chain started with shorts and progressed to metal. The mini games train the player’s brains to think more creatively and break out of the old patterns.

“The mini games are woven in, and you need to play them in order to progress,” Barzilay said. “That’s what keeps people coming back.”

The startup’s team includes neuroscientists and psychiatrists, as well as people from the gaming industry who created the mini games. “[The game] requires my team to be more thoughtful of the choices we make and to consult more and to understand the psychological effects of things… that we do,” said Barzilay. “We can’t solve the problem, but we can alleviate some of the symptoms so you can cope with it better.”

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