There are 4 calming strategies taught while playing Mightier: Deep Breathing, Crossing the Midline, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and Visualization. No one strategy is better than another, and Mightier offers this variety so that kids can experiment with the different techniques and figure out which feels best for them. Some kids say that deep breathing is the only thing that will bring their heart rate down, while others like to use different strategies depending on how they feel.
Watch Kimberly Siefkes, LISW and Senior Program Specialist demonstrate the 4 techniques here.
When players are in the red zone and the lavalings begin appearing, they can press the Gizmo to pause the game and practice a calming strategy with Dr. Dragon. Players can use whichever strategy they choose in this moment, whether it’s a Mightier strategy or something they invented on their own (petting the dog, closing their eyes, holding a stuffed animal). Mightier will always show them a strategy in this moment, and which strategy it shows depends on the one the player has selected on their home screen. Whichever strategy is shown within the gizmo is the one that will “activate.” Players can swap strategies in and out of their gizmo by returning to the home screen and tapping on a different icon.
Deep breathing increases the amount of oxygen to your brain and body. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us to feel more calm. Despite the fact we’re always breathing, this is an underutilized tool that will be the first step towards emotional regulation for your child.
Crossing the Midline happens anytime we cross one part of our body to the opposite side. In Mightier, the crossing the midline calming skill activity prompts players to tap their right shoulder with their left hand and tap their left shoulder with their right hand sequentially until their heart rate lowers into the blue zone.
Crossing the midline requires the right and left hemispheres of the brain to communicate across a thick band of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum.
Activating the corpus callosum makes it stronger, which makes it easier for the brain to process information, perform tasks, manage emotions, and regulate activities such as breathing, speech, and physical activity.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is based on the premise that muscle tension is the body’s response to anxiety-provoking thoughts and that muscle relaxation blocks anxiety and lowers heart rate. The technique involves first tensing then relaxing different muscle groups. In Mightier the PMR activity focuses on tensing then relaxing the hands, shoulders, eyes, and feet.
Tracing/Visualization is a low-arousal activity that can help focus the mind and lower heart rate. In Mightier the tracing activity prompts the player to trace a wavy line on the screen of their playing device.