Jane McGonigal (which sounds suspiciously similar to Harry Potter’s Professor McGonagall) may have found a very real type of magic. One that extends a person’s life!
Jane sets up a very simplistic but effective framework. She went through an unfortunate accident that left her with a concussion that caused side effects such as headaches, memory-loss, disorientation, dizziness and other head trauma related symptoms. From this, she was put to bedrest and forbidden to play games (tough for a game designer), read books, watch TV or anything that would stimulate her mind as it would aggravate her symptoms.
She began to lose her will to live, without her raison d’être, she soon desired death to claim her.
It is in these horrible moments that genius strikes. Jane decides to create a simplistic game called Superbetter :
It is based on the studies conducted on human life span extending activities. The statistics are extensive yet it is simple enough to understand at face value. Firstly, she defines the top 5 regrets of those on their deathbeds.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish I allowed myself to be happier.
- I wish I had the courage to express my true self.
- I wish that I’d led a life true to my dreams and not what others expected of me.
Jane proposes that games can actually facilitate better relationship management, social interaction and even confidence boosters. Personally I think that the next generation can relate so well to games, that it is second nature for them to accept an imaginary framework to view their personal challenge.
She designed Superbetter to allow normal people to adopt a secret identity, complete small tasks or challenges that improves one’s confidence, practice their willpower and even train positive reinforcement and build a social support system. This helps them battle their own chosen obstacle such as cancer, terminal diseases or post-traumatic disorder. It became post-traumatic growth!
She then takes the same phenomenon to improve a person’s survival resilience, and made them the goal practices that are described here for you work on everyday:
- Physical Resilience: Such as holding your hands above your head for 5 seconds, every moment your body is moving, you are improving your health.
- Willpower Resilience: This could be as simple as snapping your fingers for 50 times which improves your brains determination
- Emotional Resilience: Googling for an image of Baby _______ (type of favorite animal) which invokes powerful positive emotions.
- Social Resilience: Text, email or facebook a quick thank you as appreciation to boost oxytocin in your bloodstream (the trust hormone)
If you’ve just done these four simple actions. You’ve just gained 7 minutes of extra life. If you do this daily, you are statistically likely to live 10 years longer than you would have if you did nothing about it. On top of that, you will avoid having the top regrets of someone on the deathbed because you have been spending your time doing just the opposite.