SuperBetter | Jane McGonigal

Summary of: SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient–Powered by the Science of Games
By: Jane McGonigal


Welcome to the world of SuperBetter, a revolutionary game designed by Jane McGonigal, to help you build resilience and lead a stronger, happier, and more fulfilling life. Games have the power to not only entertain but also to alleviate stress, fight pain, and foster growth. In this book summary, you will explore the concepts of post-traumatic growth and post-ecstatic growth, and how following the seven steps of the SuperBetter method can help you become more resilient. Dive into a world where games can harness the power of flow to engage us fully, where allies are essential in fighting back against challenges, and where motivation and determination can take your life to new heights. Enter the adventurous realm of challenges, quests, and epic wins, and embark on your very own SuperBetter adventure.

SuperBetter: Gaming Your Way to Post-Traumatic Growth

SuperBetter is a game developed by an author who created it for herself while recovering from a brain injury. The game aims to not only improve one’s health but to empower and control their lives during challenging times. It employs two growth mechanisms, post-traumatic growth, and post-ecstatic growth, to achieve positive personal development. Post-traumatic growth is a life-changing phenomenon that can result from enduring trauma, while post-ecstatic growth can be achieved through setting and overcoming personal challenges. The seven steps of the SuperBetter method help users build physical, mental, emotional, and social resilience, making the game an effective tool for growth. The book highlights how games can play a vital role in helping individuals achieve personal development during difficult times.

The Healing Power of Video Games

Video games can help alleviate physical pain and reduce traumatic flashbacks, according to recent studies. Games like Snow World control a person’s attention spotlight, reducing the impact of strong signals like pain. The state of being absorbed in an activity, called flow, is key in bringing about these positive effects. Children who play challenging and interactive games before surgery feel less anxiety and need less medication. Gaming can be seen as an effective tool for healing, but only when it comes in an engaging and challenging form.

Allies in Gaming

When facing big challenges, it’s easy to feel alone. However, everyone is surrounded by potential allies that can be found, thanks to our natural mimicking tendencies. Studies show that people develop strong neurological and physiological bonds when they play a game together, regardless of whether they are playing with or against each other. Moreover, they tend to like people who they perceive as similar to themselves. Video games have the potential to connect people in several ways, such as bringing together Israelis and Palestinians through the Middle East Gaming Challenge. However, to generate empathy, gaming partners must be in the same room. Excessive competition against strangers in a different location can lead to negative feelings, while being in the same space fosters a positive connection that can open up new worlds of friends.

Games: The Key to Motivation

Games are not just a form of entertainment. They are also powerful tools to boost motivation, confidence, and determination. Playing games can build character by improving work ethic, compassion, and self-efficacy. For instance, the game Re-Mission helps young cancer patients stay strong-willed during difficult treatments. It fosters optimism, reinforces a sense of control, and makes patients feel more powerful and optimistic. Moreover, playing games increases the level of dopamine in the brain, which is the pleasure neurotransmitter responsible for motivation and determination. The confidence built playing games can show up in everyday life, increasing persistence, work ethic, and a positive outlook. Games, therefore, offer a unique opportunity to develop skills and reinforce a winning attitude.

The Power of Positive Gaming

The impact of video games on our lives depends on why we play them. Playing games with a positive goal promotes self-expansive immersion and can improve creativity and problem-solving skills. Video games also enhance visual attention and spatial intelligence while putting players in a better mood. However, playing games as a form of escape can be harmful. Developing a positive gaming mindset is essential to gain the benefits and feel happier in non-gaming life. Video games are a source of strength, skill, and willpower that empower players to face challenges and manage their frustration.

Living Gamefully

SuperBetter provides an approach to living gamefully by defining seven simple steps to follow regardless of what change you seek. The foundation of the approach involves substituting a challenge mindset for a threat mindset. Instead of feeling anxious, replace this emotion with excitement to overcome obstacles in achieving your goals. By changing your perspective, you can teach your mind to interpret physical sensations differently and accomplish more significant feats.

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