I just found out that my opinion about gaming has been dead wrong.
Gaming isn’t only for kids or for adults who refuse to grow up—it isn’t a colossal time waster. Gaming can help me in real life!
In fact, I am now convinced that gaming can be a fun way to build self care into your day.
If not for a Ted Talk, it is unlikely that I would have listened to world renowned game designer, Jane McGonigal. Not only did I listen, but I was blown away by this talk, and promptly downloaded the FREE app discussed in this talk.
The app, called SuperBetter, uses gaming to create and increase resilience. Resilience is the ability to handle life and bounce back from life’s challenges and changes. Stress management and self care practices are what help us be resilient.
How Superbetter Came to Be: It’s a Really Good Story
While already a successful game designer, McGonigal experienced a major concussion. She took all she knew about gaming and gamification and did considerable research on resilience (physical, emotional, mental and social resilience) and post-traumatic growth. She then consolidated it and applied it to her own recovery from the fallout of her concussion: depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In her gaming world, she had already been making the case for using games to improve our lives and solve real problems. Then she successfully applied it to her own life! When other people played SuperBetter for 30 days, their moods improved, symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD decreased, and their belief that they could achieve their goals increased.
If you think that this app isn’t for you because you aren’t struggling with depression or anxiety, you should know that resilience is also about wellness, increased happiness, successfully meeting your goals, and more.
According to McGonigal’s research and configurations, we can use the resilience practices in SuperBetter to add 10 years to our life.
How SuperBetter Works
You choose a goal, and based on this goal, you complete “quests” (real-life activities such as 10 minutes of stretching), accomplish “power-ups” (for e.g. drink a glass of water), and also battle “bad guys” (common bad habits/traits such as self-criticism) on a daily basis. You are awarded points for completing each activity. You can also invite “allies” to leave encouraging comments and suggest new quests and power-ups.
The 4 Types of Resilience and Resilience Activities
The “power-ups” in SuperBetter cover the 4 main types of resilience activities. Here are some examples.
- Physical Resilience: Walk 3 steps or make your hands into fists and put your arms up. Physical activity helps us withstand stress and helps the body heal.
- Mental Resilience: Snap fingers 50 times or count backwards from 100. Mental activity gives you more willpower.
- Emotional Resilience: Look through a window or Google image search your favourite baby animals. You can improve your health by feeling 3 positive emotions for every negative one.
- Social Resilience: Shake someone’s hand or send a message to a friend. This helps you gain strength from others!
Wow. Could these practices be any simpler? Also, I get to have some fun and increase my resilience at the same time. This app is staying on my main phone screen!
All I need is a few minutes in my day to complete these simple yet hugely beneficial practices. That’s all you need too! Can you see yourself gaming your way to more happiness, health, and wellness?
This article is written by Jane Vock. Jane is a caregiver expert at Elizz, she has a Master’s degree in Sociology and in Social Work, and over 25 years of experience working with caregivers and their families.