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  • PHS Digital Journalism Project

PHS Digital Journalism Project: Social Anxiety VS. Board Games

Raelynn Holliday

The atmosphere has become intense at the table. Everyone is staring at their cards while waiting for the opponent to play his turn. After a full minute, he let out a little chuckle and laid the Queen of Spades down. The other two opponents whispered to each other, assuming that there was no way to get out of this. Being the last to go, it was assumed that I would be getting the Queen of Spades. They were sadly mistaken. As I stared at my hand, I made expressions to make it seem like I was doomed. I placed the palm of my hand on my forehead, widened my eyes, and shook my head from side to side while letting out a big sigh of ¨defeat¨. Once they show that they believe my bluffed expressions by raising their eyebrows as if to tell me to go already and take the L, I then lay the card I wanted to play down into the pile. Once they saw what I just laid down, their mouths dropped open in shock. The opponent that laid the Queen of Spades made a rookie mistake.

To this day, card games and board games bring out the good in people. They even help people that have social anxiety. Social anxiety is a disorder that makes people have a hard time talking/interacting with people and affects 1 out of 3 adolescents between the age of 13-18 years old and over 19 million people suffer from social anxiety across America. Due to many people having this disorder, it creates a drop in social interaction. For students in school, it makes learning and communicating difficult due to them having that fear of talking to people they don't know. However, that all changed at Portland High School. This school year, teachers and staff were asked by the principal, Mrs. Dewitt, to come up with classes to fill in the remaining spaces in the schedule.

Mrs. Getchell, an English teacher at Portland High School, came up with a class called Mind Games. She stated that the reason she chose this class is because it brings people together and is a good way to reduce any stress or anxiety that the student may have been experiencing. ¨I chose Mind Games as a class because it brings people together, get to socialize with people, and you are still working your brain.¨ said Mrs. Getchell. Mind games have since become a popular class due to other students talking about it. From Mrs. Getchell´s point of view, the students have been cooperating with one another very well in the class and have been very engaged. ¨Students were 99.9% engaged in this class.¨ said Mrs. Getchell. Students interacted with one another through many games in the class. There was Euchre, Hearts, Sudoku, and many more. Liana Straw, a senior at Portland High School, said ¨I was pretty engaged in the class. I talked to other students that I have never talked to before and even made a new friend.¨ Liana has also mentioned that, from her point of view, students seem to be a lot happier and not as anti-social unlike in other classes. Studies have indeed shown that board/card games reduce social anxiety and stress in people. With this, they become more engaged with the people around them and give them the confidence to talk to people.

As years go by, social interaction has decreased due to an increase of social anxiety in teens and adults. However, putting a card game or board game into the mix will help reduce that anxiety. Having those intense moments, funny moments, and crazy moments brings people in and kicks that social anxiety to the curb.

This article is part of a series written by PHS Digital Journalism students taught by Ms. Chandra Polasek. The articles were written for posting on The Portland Beacon. All articles are original work of the students.


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