The “Game Your Rage” Reducer
Among other annoying cost-cutting measures, your workplace is making you swipe your ID every time you need to use the printer. The card reader breaks all the time and takes days to fix. Today it goes on the fritz right before your big presentation—and all you can do is rage against the machine.
Reducer: Here is the heart-hammering fury that comes from feeling powerless. How do you bring yourself back? Here's something we hadn't considered before: You can game your anger with Rage Control (Regulate and Gain Emotional Control), a video game developed by psychiatrists at Harvard University. Originally designed for young people, it tracks your heart rate as enemy spaceships attack—and disables your shooter when you get angry or overexcited. Over time, you learn what your body feels like when you’re losing control, and how to calm yourself to stay within your resting heart rate. This process strengthens the connection between the brain’s executive control (prefrontal cortex) and emotional area (amygdala), much in the way that meditation does. The advantage? Meditation often means you have to leave a stressful situation; here, you learn how to stay in control in the midst of it. (Rage Control will be available on smart phones in the near future, says Peter Ducharme, one the study’s authors.)