The Happiness Advantage: The Unofficial Review Guide



THREE: The Tetris Effect

Principle #3: The Tetris Effect

The Tetris Effect gets its name from a video game where the player must arrange shapes falling from the sky to fit together in rows. In studies, players who played for hours, day after day, would start to see Tetris patterns in everyday life ("cognitive afterimage"). (p.88)

Our brains become trained to see patterns, negative or positive. Constantly looking for negative patterns can be very detrimental to our emotional state and performance. Looking for positive patterns can, conversely, improve happiness and performance. (p.89)

Constantly scanning for and focusing on the positive is called a Positive Tetris Effect. The result is increases in happiness, gratitude, and optimism. (p.97)

One great way to train your brain to look for the positives is to practice reciting or recording gratitude's. The best practice is to ritualize the task, choosing a daily time to stop and record or recite the things you're grateful for. (p.102)

One question that comes up is whether always viewing things through "rose-colored glasses" can be detrimental. It can if it's overdone, particularly if we overestimate our current abilities. Pessimism has its place, such as when it helps us avoid foolish investments or risky career moves. (p.103)

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The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor