We all have anxiety; Cards for Calm turns dealing with anxiety into a game.
Combining mindfulness, visualization techniques and creative thinking, Cards for Calm is designed to help you create new ways to deal with stressful situations and find more opportunities for happiness in your day.
A game to play alone or with friends, the deck contains Question and Answer cards that help you identify areas in your life you struggle with and help you work toward your goals.
How it works
Cards for Calm will help you create spaces in your day to focus on what really matters to you, to find new ways to deal with anxiety and create structures to pursue your goals.
Everyone has something they feel they’re not dealing with well. Stress at work or school. Trouble focusing. Bad habits you can’t shake. Poor self-image. The cards in the deck will help you think about the underlying problems and ways in which you can address them.
Dislike confrontation? Find alternate ways to approach confrontational circumstances.
Bored by work or school? Create new challenges for yourself based around your passions.
Trouble focusing? Develop new approaches to tasks that keep your attention and tune out interference.
The deck contains 24 Question cards and 24 Answer cards. Each Question card helps you identify an area of your life you’d like to improve, and has a corresponding Answer card to help you explore the behavior and find new ways to deal with it.
You can download a printable PDF of the full deck for free. Print them out at home, or take them to a printer and have them print it on card stock. There's no obligation, but you can make a $1 pledge if you like the cards and want to contribute.
How To Play
Shuffle the Question cards and place them on top of the Answer cards.
You can start playing at any time during the day, but we recommend starting when you wake, if possible. Before going to sleep, place the deck on top of your phone. On waking, you’ll most likely reach for your phone. Instead, you can choose Cards for Calm.
Play a Card
Turn over the top Question card and, if you feel it relates to an aspect in your life, find the corresponding Answer card. If not, slide it back into the deck and choose another.
Think about how the Answer card suggests ways you can re-evaluate this aspect of your life. Try the exercises suggested. How could you modify these suggestions so they work best for you?
Play Through the Day
Each turn takes between 1-3 minutes to play, so you just need to find a few little spaces in your day, just a minute or two, where you can play again. They can be times when you feel anxious and wish to find calm. Or times when you want to arm yourself against anxiety. It's surprisingly easy to find these spaces, no matter how busy you are. Think of how many times a day you check your phone; take just one or two of those moments and, instead, turn over another card.
Track your Progress
If you identify a behavior you’d like to improve on or a goal you’d like to achieve, you can write it on the Improvement Card. (If you’re worried about someone reading these, you can always write in code. For example, if you want to stop messaging your ex, you could write this as MEx.)
Every card you complete is put face up at bottom of the deck and counts as 1 point in your daily score. At the end of the day, count the cards you've completed and write down your score. With each day you play, try and increase your score.
Each player writes down issues they'd like to address, both goals and negative behaviors. Players can add to this list at any time throughout the game. These can range from the trivial ("I check Twitter too much", "I never talk to that cute barista at Starbucks", "I enjoy drawing but don't make enough time for it") to the more impactful ("Someone is bullying me", "Sometimes I'm so anxious I cancel plans", "I impulse shop when stressed"). Then, each player is given a wildcard.
Play a Card
Players take it in turns to deal. The dealer shuffles the Question cards and deals themselves a card. If they feel this card relates to an issue on their list (or prompts them to think of another), then they play the card. If not, control of the deck is passed to the next player.
When a Question card is played, the dealer explain their problem to the others. Everyone then reads the corresponding Answer card. Using the prompts on the card as a starting point, each person makes a suggestion as to how the player could address the issue.
Maybe talk to the person next to you instead of checking Twitter? What would be a good way to start talking to the barista? When could you make time to draw, and what will you draw?
Think creatively to suggest solutions to your friend's problems. You can give practical suggestions or fantastical, imaginative visualizations they can picture when in the situation.
The Answer card is awarded to the player who makes the best suggestion, and the Question card is kept by the dealer. Each card is worth 1 point. If the dealer feels a suggestion is excellent, they can also award their wildcard, worth an additional point.
If the dealer feel a player made a suggestion was unhelpful or against the spirit of the game they can present them with their wildcard face down, worth -1 point.
Win by Helping Your Friends
The game is over when all Question cards have been dealt or the agreed number of rounds have been played. The winner is the player with the most points.
Why I Created Cards for Calm
For me, mindfulness has been an important philosophy in dealing with depression and ensuring small acts of negative behavior don’t risk snowballing and triggering a relapse.
The techniques in this deck, combining mindfulness, visualization and creative thinking, have been things I’ve personally found enabling and instructive in helping me address my negative behaviors and find focus. They've helped me, and I hope they can help you, too.
I wanted to create a way for others to have access to these tools, and I wanted to make that process easy and, if possible, fun. A card game was a natural fit.
The ability to play alone, address your issues in private, as well as have friends help you deal and help them in return was also important. Your friends are there for you when things are tough, and you’re there for your friends when they struggle.
Cards for Calm is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It should not be used as an alternative to professional healthcare. If you feel you are struggling with anxiety, depression or another form of mental illness please consult your doctor.
If you're having thoughts of hurting yourself or others, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ( 1‐800‐273‐8255) or dial 911 immediately. Help is available.
Know that you are loved, and that you are not alone.
Can You Explain Kickstarter?
This may be the first Kickstarter project you've backed, so here's a quick explanation of the process.
Kickstarter isn't a store, but you can think of it as a way to pre-order something that doesn't yet exist.
When you pledge money, you pick which reward you want. For example, when you pledge $20, you get one deck of Cards for Calm.
Once you've chosen, Kickstarter will send you to Amazon Payments, where they'll record your pledge. They don't bill you yet. They only charge you money at the end of the campaign, and only if we reach our funding goal ($2,000).
You can modify or cancel your pledge at any time until very close to the end of the campaign.
Risks and challenges
The game has already been designed, with just a few editorial changes to the deck expected. We’ve calculated a minimum order number of 100 decks to break even on the printing which, along with shipping the deck to you, are the only costs.
If we meet this initial, modest minimum bulk order, then the cards will be printed and shipped within a few weeks. There will inevitably be some that go missing in the mail but, if if you don’t receive yours, just let us know and we’ll send you another.
In the event that we become overwhelmed with orders it may take us longer to ship them than we anticipate. If that happens, we’ll keep you updated on progress.
When you order, you can help us minimize any problems with shipping by providing us with the full address of a place (work, home, your parents) where you know the deck can be delivered even if you're not there. You won't need to give this at the time you make your pledge, we'll ask you for it when the Kickstarter campaign has closed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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