SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal
Published by Penguin on September 15th 2015
Genres: Self-Help, Personal Growth, Happiness, Psychology, General, Games, Video & Electronic
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An innovative guide to living gamefully, based on the program that has already helped nearly half a million people achieve remarkable personal growthIn 2009, internationally renowned game designer Jane McGonigal suffered a severe concussion. Unable to think clearly or work or even get out of bed, she became anxious and depressed, even suicidal. But rather than let herself sink further, she decided to get better by doing what she does best: she turned her recovery process into a resilience-building game. What started as a simple motivational exercise quickly became a set of rules for “post-traumatic growth” that she shared on her blog. These rules led to a digital game and a major research study with the National Institutes of Health. Today nearly half a million people have played SuperBetter to get stronger, happier, and healthier.
But the life-changing ideas behind SuperBetter are much bigger than just one game. In this book, McGonigal reveals a decade’s worth of scientific research into the ways all games—including videogames, sports, and puzzles—change how we respond to stress, challenge, and pain. She explains how we can cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more “gameful” mind-set. Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games—such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination—to real-world goals.
Drawing on hundreds of studies, McGonigal shows that getting superbetter is as simple as tapping into the three core psychological strengths that games help you build:
• Your ability to control your attention, and therefore your thoughts and feelings • Your power to turn anyone into a potential ally, and to strengthen your existing relationships • Your natural capacity to motivate yourself and super-charge your heroic qualities, like willpower, compassion, and determination
SuperBetter contains nearly 100 playful challenges anyone can undertake in order to build these gameful strengths. It includes stories and data from people who have used the SuperBetter method to get stronger in the face of illness, injury, and other major setbacks, as well as to achieve goals like losing weight, running a marathon, and finding a new job.
As inspiring as it is down to earth, and grounded in rigorous research, SuperBetter is a proven game plan for a better life. You’ll never say that something is “just a game” again.
From the Hardcover edition.
I am a huge gamer, and I also have been playing the Superbetter game ever since it came out. I had to admit that I really did not know HOW to play to get the most out of it, but after reading this book I feel as if I have a better grasp of the game.
She tells about how playing games can help us in real life everyday problems. I have to admit that I had never thought about taking my gaming obsession and applying it to real life problems. I mean really, How can World Od Warcraft help me when I am depressed. After reading this book, I realized that the skills in WOW like asking for help, working in a team, etc. can translate into the “real” world. I applied that to my life. I started asking for help and was surprised at how many people responded. It seems that there were a lot of people who wanted to help me but wasn’t sure how. I went back and started playing superbetter again and this time I knew HOW to play to get results. I got some of my friends to sign up for allies. And I can honestly feel that my depression and anxiety symptoms have become manageable.
I also love how she input tricks and power-ups into the book. Like for example anxiety and excitement is physically the same thing so if you feel anxious just make yourself think you are excited, and it becomes bearable. I tried this once, and it worked. I prefer to cut down on anxiety by the way of benzos but if you do not have access to them, then this is a good trick.
Another good trick is to breath in for 4 seconds and then breathe out for 8. This apparently does something to your nervous system and can stop anxiety and migraines and stuff. She admits that it is not perfect but most of the times she can get by without medication. I have wondered if this would help me. I am not to keen to try it though as even thinking about my anxiety gives me anxiety. I have learned that when I feel overwhelmed if breath like that then I can calm down.
I have added my power ups to the mix. Like I am trying to eat healthily so when I want junk food I eat a piece of fruit. When I feel horrible mediate and stuff like that. I still like all people with a serious chronic condition have bad days, but now they are fewer and farther spaced. I spend less time in bed curled into a fetal position not so patiently waiting for the end of time and more out and about and living. So the program works. I would recommend this to anyone with a serious chronic condition. It is a great tool to make the living with your condition easier and enables you actually to make a life worth getting out of the bed.