- big Challenge
- Quest-s are the daily steps, little wins
- Allies learn how to help you win
- PowerUp-s give you strength and energy
- BadGuy-s are obstacles
- FutureBoost-s are everything you'r looking forward to
- EpicWin-s are milestone?
Before You Play, Here’s What You Need to Know
randomized, controlled study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that playing SuperBetter for thirty days significantly reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety and increases optimism, social support, and players’ belief in their own ability to succeed and achieve their goals
The SuperBetter method is NOT an alternative to therapy
three qualities are all it takes to become happier, braver, and more resilient in the face of any challenge.
You have the ability to control your attention—and therefore your thoughts and feelings. You have the strength to find support in the most unexpected places, and deepen your existing relationships. You have a natural capacity to motivate yourself and supercharge your heroic qualities, like willpower, compassion, and determination
Being gameful means bringing the psychological strengths you naturally display when you play games—such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination—to your real life. It means having the curiosity and openness to play with different strategies to discover what works best. It means building up the resilience to tackle tougher and tougher challenges with greater and greater success.
I said to myself, I am either going to kill myself, or I’m going to turn this into a game.
So I created a simple recovery game called “Jane the Concussion Slayer
my first ally in the game
battled the bad guys. These were anything that could trigger my symptoms and therefore slow down the healing process—things like bright lights and crowded spaces
power-ups. These were anything I could do on even my worst day to feel just a little bit good or happy or powerful
The game was that simple: adopt a secret identity, recruit allies, battle the bad guys, and activate power-ups
It wasn’t a miracle cure for the headaches or the cognitive symptoms—they lasted more than a year, and it was the hardest year of my life by far. But even when I still had the symptoms, even while I was still in pain, I stopped suffering
some people get stronger and happier after a traumatic event. And that’s what was happening to us. The game was helping us experience what scientists call post-traumatic growth
Bronnie Ware published an article called “Regrets of the Dying
1. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. 2. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 3. I wish I had let myself be happier. 4. I wish I’d had the courage to express my true self. 5. I wish I’d lived a life true to my dreams, instead of what others expected of me
the top five regrets of the dying are essentially the exact opposite of the top five experiences of post-traumatic growth.
Extreme personal challenge—if we respond in the right way—unlocks our ability to lead a life truer to our dreams and free of regrets
you can experience the benefits of post-traumatic growth without the trauma, if you are willing to undertake an extreme challenge in your life—such as running a marathon, writing a book, starting a business, becoming a parent, quitting smoking, or making a spiritual journey. Researchers call this post-ecstatic growth
So if post-traumatic growth and post-ecstatic growth work the same way, what exactly is that process?
It turns out that there are seven ways of thinking and acting that contribute to post-traumatic and post-ecstatic growth. And they are all ways that we commonly think and act when we play games
1. Adopt a challenge mindset
2. Seek out whatever makes you stronger and happier.
3. Strive for psychological flexibility
In games, we follow this rule whenever we battle a tough opponent or “bad guys,” knowing we may fail many times
4. Take committed action
always keeping your eyes on the larger goal
5. Cultivate connectedness
find at least two people you feel you can ask for help
6. Find the heroic story
We often take on the “secret identity” of heroic characters
7. Learn the skill of benefit finding
arise when you least expect them
just pick a meaningful and challenging goal for yourself—and then follow these rules as you try to achieve it
Our studies show measurable improvements within two weeks and even bigger improvements at four weeks and six weeks
I’ve waited five years to write this book because I wanted to be absolutely sure that the gameful method works
I’ve studied games that decrease anxiety, alleviate depression, prevent pain, and treat post-traumatic stress disorder. I’ve analyzed games that increase willpower, boost self-esteem, improve attention skills, and strengthen family relationships
I challenge you to complete four life-changing quests in the next five minutes
These are the first four quests that every SuperBetter player completes
QUEST 1: Physical Resilience Pick one: Stand up and take three steps. or Make your hands into fists and hold them over your head as high as you can for five seconds. Go! Did you do it? Well done
Every single second you’re not sitting still, however, you’re actively improving the health of your heart, your lungs, and your brain
QUEST 2: Mental Resilience Pick one: Snap your fingers exactly fifty times or Count backward from 100 by 7, like this: 100, 93 . . . all the way to at least 0.
Mental resilience is motivation, focus, and willpower—strengths that are essential to achieving any goal
QUEST 3: Emotional Resilience Pick one: If you’re inside, find a window and look outside for thirty seconds. If you’re outside, find a window and look in. or Do a Google Image or YouTube video search for “baby [your favorite animal].”
Emotional resilience is the ability to access positive emotions at will
you don’t need to eliminate negative emotions—that’s obviously impossible. You just need enough positive emotions, over the course of a day, to beat out the negative ones
QUEST 4: Social Resilience Pick one: Shake or hold someone’s hand for at least six seconds. or Send someone you know a quick thank-you by text, email, or Facebook message.
Social resilience is the ability to get support from friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers. You’re able to ask for the help you need—and you’re more likely to receive it
There are lots of ways to increase your social resilience. Touch and gratitude are two of the most effective
You’ll complete nearly one hundred more quests before this book is through
let me tell you a little bit more about what you can expect from this book.
in Part 1, “Why Games Make Us Superbetter,” we’ll start with an overview of the evidence on games
Most of the games we discuss in Part 1 are readily available for you to play on your phone or your computer
You will know exactly what it takes to tap into your three most important challenge-facing, problem-solving powers: your abilities to control your attention, to make allies and get support, and to motivate yourself to do what’s important, even when it’s difficult for you
In Part 2, “How to Be Gameful,” we’ll talk about your life
We’ll go in depth with each of the seven gameful skills
I’ll give you seven simple rules to follow to practice each of these skills in daily life. This is the SuperBetter method, and it’s designed to make it easy for you to lead a more gameful life—whether or not you have the time to play games.
Part 3, “Adventures,” brings it all together with three SuperBetter journeys I’ve created so that you can continue practicing your new gameful skills
Taken together, these three adventures contain just enough quests for you to keep playing SuperBetter for six weeks
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