Ben Norris

🧠 Return of sudoku

One of the activities that has helped me make it through the past couple weeks has been the excellent sudoku app, Good Sudoku.

This is one that I first wrote about nearly two years ago in update #16: Distress tolerance & sudoku. It has come and gone, like most of my obsessions, and re-entered my life a few weeks ago.

As I wrote back in 2020:

There is a fine line for me between distracting my brain as part of distress tolerance, and numbing or seeking escape. Whether it was the right thing or not, I found great relief this past week in discovering the Good Sudoku app.

This was perfect for me. My level of agitation continued to be high until I could engage my brain enough to be distracted. Trying to read or watch TV was not cutting it, but sudoku was perfect. I enjoyed ignoring the time component and focusing on finding the patterns and solving the puzzles.

Because the app helps you level up to do harder and harder puzzles, I can regularly stay perched at the line between engagement and frustration. If I need a little bit more satisfaction, I can drop down and do an easier puzzle. If I need more brain stimulation, I can try a harder one.

Sudoku screenshots

One of the best things for me to keep me from tipping over into pure frustration is the Hint feature. If I feel stuck, I can get a hint and find the move that I hadn’t been able to see. I try to play hard enough puzzles that I typically need 1-3 hints.

So often, I wish that life had a Hint button. My OCD will often cause my brain to get stuck trying to understand something that someone said, and not allow me to move on. I wish that I could just get an alternate explanation without requiring the person to say things in the “right” way so that I can process them more easily.

Until that arrives, I need to continue to sit with the distress of uncertainty and do my best.

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