Games are contagious. You have the score to beat and straightforward path to do it and you are immediately rewarded for your actions. It's a prodigy motivator. But can the games be used to improve our lives rather then killing out of the space creatures in epic fantasy battles. Yes it can.
Jane McGonigal suffered from big depressions but since she is the game designer she decided to create a game to help her. It turned out into a great and easy tool for working out your anxiety, low self-esteem or just increasing your life happiness. Superbetter Game her team created offer easy tasks which reveals you the power of gratitude, empathy, attention and many other skills of fulfilling life. They work together with inspiring people and university teams to create new quests, highlight new positive beliefs and find the ways how to deal with self-sabotaging habits.
Lumosity contains multiple quick games enhancing your mental skills like Attention, Memory or problem solving. The games are based on the fact that brain can always develop and change - neuroplasticity. Lumosity teams is involved in many brain and cognitive science researches. Recently they started with the app for small children LumiKids.
Nataly Kogan a Jew growing up in Soviet Russia learned how to find more joy in her life. She decided to share the little techniques with great impact which can make your life better. She and her Boston team created a site Happier. They prepared several courses full of video lessons, daily tasks and motivational reading but the key tool is to notice things which make you happy all the time. Happier works on the courses together with inspiring people like Deepak Chopra. Her motto is
stop saying I'll be happy when and to start saying I'm happier now because ...
A German product based on research of front German universities is very similar to Lumosity and offer games requiring attention, focus and wits. Neuronation let you play random game in the free mode and offers personalized training plan in premium.
Happify combines game and task approach. You are going through games strengthening 5 core abilities of happy people - Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give, Empathize. In each you receive points to keep track of your progress and within few weeks you learn to feel happier in every day situations.
These activities are not meant to enhance happiness but to improve your cognitive skills. As well as you can train your muscles you can power up your attention, memory, people skills or other brain functions. Play interactive games on BrainHQ to get to the new level of mental skills.
It's more a log than a game but it again strengthen the ability to notice positive things in your life. Use gratitugelog to remind yourself of all of those nice moments you experience every day.
Why are games so addictive?
Based on long term research about what makes us happy scientist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi identified elements which allow as to get into the state of flow. It's a state when we lose our perception of time because we are so immersed in the action we are doing. It's very blissful state. The game environment is very supportive in creating these elements:
- Clear goals every step of the way
- Immediate feed back
- Balance between challenge and skill
- Action and awareness are merged
Playing the game compare to most of the other activities can allow these circumstances. That is why we like them so much.
Do you know other games?
What about you? Do you know some games which foster positive attitudes and skills and help you overcome habits which are slowing you down?