The Video Game of Life

While I was trying to escape my suffocating life inside of a smothering car, I heard Jane McGonigal on NPRs “q” talk about treating life like a video game. Although most of what she spoke about sounded incredibly corny, a lot of it resonated with me. (Maybe it’s because I do like those things called games.) Apparently 41% of people who play video games view them as a form of escapism media. They use them as a way to escape their own lives, and according to Jane this is the absolute worst way to view games.

Photo by Mika Baumeister

When we play games we are literally the opposite of being depressed. We’re using areas of our brain to problem-solve and to look ahead at what’s coming up. When you come across a problem in a game you optimistically view it as a challenge and begin to tackle it. We access every tool in our arsenal and even go to others for help and camaraderie.

Jane questions why we don’t do this with every challenge we’re confronted with. She has 7 ways we can start changing our mind-set, that you can check out in the NPR article.

As someone who deals with their fair share of anxiety, depression, mental illness and as someone who goes to games as a way to not think about by my life, I had no choice but to take notice of Dr. McGonigal’s words.

She took a moment of physical trauma and decided to utilize her gaming skills to overcome it. Even though I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough discipline to play life like a game all the time, the next time something bad happens I just might have to ask myself, “what would I do with a controller in my hand?”

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