“I’m game”! What thoughts go through your mind when someone says this? If thoughts of excitement, exhilaration, challenge, friendship and the thrill of winning come to mind, then you are like the majority of people who enjoy playing a good game. All of these positive thoughts have now been studied and confirmed as truly brain changing.
Jane McGonigal, a senior researcher at the Institute for the Future has developed a game that assists anyone, including senior caregivers, to move into the gaming mindset to feel better and achieve goals in their daily life. She has a new book, titled Super Better, along with a free SuperBetter App to allow everyone to step into the gaming mindset and enjoy the resulting benefits.
Jane visited Chicago this week to talk about her book, her research and the free Super Better App at her new office in Chicago (just a couple blocks from Caregiverlist, Inc. at the Chicago Merchandise Mart).
If you thought playing games was not a good use of your time, Jane’s research may surprise you. She now has research studies to back up her findings that your brain does change when you are in the gaming mindset. Her current focus is on those recovering from traumatic brain injuries or experiencing mental illness such as depression or addiction. Her own experience recovering from a concussion led her to build the Super Better game and the free Super Better App.
You are stronger than you know.
You are surrounded by potential allies.
You are the hero of your own story.
By being gameful you can combat extreme stress and personal challenge and thrive and this is what both Jane's book and game will teach you how to do.
How does this work?
Have you ever helped lift heavy furniture from one room to the next? When doing so, you are thinking about how to leverage the furniture in conjunction with the other person assisting with the lifting and you communicate on how you will shift the piece of furniture without damaging it or the walls and floor and without hurting yourself or the other person. As you do this, your brains are "in synch". The same thing happens when you are playing a video game with someone else, or any game. However, this is most effective when playing a game with a friend or family member. The brain chemistry, so to speak, truly changes and delivers more positive emoticons, as we might say. The vagus nerve, for instance, connects the mind to many important organs in the body and mediates the relationship between emotions and physical health and is improved when you are immersed in a game.
The SuperBetter App presents a game that will result in the player being able to stay strong, motivated and optimistic, even in the face of difficult obstacles. Playing SuperBetter allows players to become capable of getting through any tough situation and more likely to achieve their goals. Results have been proven by playing for just 10 minutes a day. A nurse shared a story of assisting a patient who was battling depression. After being given a prescription for anti-depressants, the person returned for their check-up visit showing signs of improvement. However, it turned out they were unable to afford to buy the medications and instead played the free SuperBetter App game and said that this had helped them to step out of their depressed state.
McGonigal has organized the ways we think and act when we play games into 7 actions that contribute to post-traumatic and post-ecstatic growth when implemented:
Adopt a Challenge Mindset
Seek out Whatever Makes you Stronger and Happier
Strive for Psychological Flexibility
Take Committed Action
Find the Heroic Story
Learn the Skill of Benefit Finding
The 7 Rules to Live By from the SuperBetter Method:
Collect and activate power-ups
Find and battle the bad guys
Seek out and complete quests
Recruit your allies
Adopt a secret identity
Go for an epic win
Studies also show that those who are caring for others who are experiencing mental illness also find benefits when playing SuperBetter. As seniors can be at high risk for alcoholism and depression, senior caregivers can add game playing to their tool kit and now know that research backs up the benefits of being a game player.