I’m sure I am not the only person who would blush if I had to calculate and publicly announce how much time I spend gaming. So when I heard that there was someone out there who is suggesting not only that I play more but also that there is a game that can add years to my life, I was more than thrilled.
I recently said that I wasn’t sure I would want gamification to be present in every aspect of my life; however, Jane McGonigal may have convinced me otherwise. In her presentation, she shares her personal experiences after a severe concussion and how creating a life game called SuperBetter brought her out of her depression.
SuperBetter requires you to adopt a secret identity, recruit allies to help you stay on track, battle bad guys (obstacles in your life), and activate power-ups. And while endeavoring on your daily quests, you are building up four kinds of strength:
- Physical resilience: Something as simple as holding your hands above your head for five seconds can build physical resilience meaning your body can withstand more stress and heal faster;
- Mental resilience: The mundane task of snapping your fingers 50 times can build mental resilience meaning more mental focus, determination, and will power because tackling a tiny challenge like this without giving up is validating;
- Emotional resilience: Looking at a picture of something you like has the ability to provoke powerful positive emotions like happiness and love and if you can manage three positive emotions for every one negative, you improve your health and ability to successfully solve problems;
- Social resilience: Shaking hands with another person or thanking someone allows you to get strength from friends, neighbors, the community, etc.
So we’ve got a game that is encouraging us to take small steps towards our goals while allowing ourselves to feel good about the accomplishments along the way. And all the while building up four strengths, which if done regularly, can add 10 years to your life. I fully anticipate heeding Jane McGonical’s advice by gaming and gaming more but also by trying to build up these four strengths.