CUBE FOR MOOD INITIATIVE
During a therapy session in 2015, a child brought in a shiny Rubik's cube (a 3D puzzle invented in 1974 by a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Erno Rubik). I hadn't seen a Rubik's Cube in years and instantly remembered the frustration of trying to solve the cube when I was younger to no avail. To my amazement, the child solved the cube in front of me in a matter of minutes through a number of strategic algorithmic steps.
After the session, I subsequently bought a Rubik's cube in an attempt to build further rapport with the child and because I was intrigued again by this amazing puzzle. I remembered a documentary in 2013 called Redesign My Brain presented by Todd Sampson, involving Todd's quest to expand the boundaries of his brain. This documentary showed that with practice, many things are possible, including significant improvements in skills through processes such as neuroplasticity (involving neural networks changing in the brain through growth and reorganisation).
With ongoing practice, I was able to solve the cube in 3 weeks and with further practice, my times have been steadily decreasing to a current personal best of 12 seconds. The brain is truly a wonderful thing and we have an opportunity to build skills with a bit of hard work!
Leffers Consulting has subsequently created the Cube for Mood Initiative - which provides speed cubes for children who attend my clinic. To date, we are approaching 500 speedcubes being given away!
The feedback we are receiving is that Rubik's Cubes can be a useful tool to help calm down during difficult times and to help bring oneself back into the moment. The Rubik's cube also promotes patience and tolerance, teaching kids that sometimes we have to work hard to gain solutions to problems. This can be difficult in a world where we often expect immediate reinforcement and instant success.