Tag Archives: Kelly McGonigal

How Gaming Can Help You Live Better and Longer

Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal

Game designer Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk that gaming fulfills the basic human wishes expressed by dying hospice patients:

• Work less hard
• Stay in touch with friends
• Let myself be happier
• Have the courage to express my true self
• Live a life true to my dreams

She discussed a practical game, Superbetter, she developed following her own experience of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which left her bedridden, in persistent pain, and suicidal for more than a year.

Based on her love of “Special Missions and Secret Objectives”, she developed four research-based challenges to increase her resilience and capabilities:

• Physical
• Mental
• Emotional
• Social

She asserts that these tasks help players strengthen abilities to remain motivated and optimistic even in the face of difficulty challenge, and boost physical and emotional well-being.
McGonigal links these capabilities to strengthening social support, increasing stamina and willpower.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that McGonigal’s twin sister and fellow Ph.D., Kelly McGonigal, conducts research at Stanford University on methods to increase willpower and compassion, and to reduce stress and pain.

Her recent book is The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It

Jane McGonigal seems to triumph in this Jane vs. Colbert face-off …though he may have tried to distract her by mentioning that she is “a girl, and an attractive one at that…with that Big Hair…”

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert

Six-time Stephen Colbert guest, Hayden Planetarium astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s commented that “you’re lucky to come away with your skin when you appear on Colbert’s show.”  Jane seemed to come away with her skin intact.

-*How have you seen gaming improve lives?
-*To what extent do you concur with the hospice patients’ wishes – and implied advice to younger people?

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary 

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Two Approaches to Following-Through on Plans, Adapting to Changes

Kelly McGonigal

Kelly McGonigal

Stanford University lecturer Kelly McGonigal integrates cognitive psychology and neuroscience in her book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It

She argues that willpower can be developed by:

• Paying attention to situations that undermine willpower
• Managing stress and mood, maintaining exercise, sleep, and healthy eating habits to maintain willpower
• Practice small willpower challenges to build the willpower “muscle”
• Expect willpower “slips” and plan for alternate responses
• Associating with others who have strong willpower habits
• Recognizing that willpower is not easier in the future, and now is the time to begin practicing
• Disputing thoughts of shame and guilt, and re-interpreting them more optimistically, hopefully, and forgivingly

M.J. Ryan

M.J. Ryan

Several years before McGonigal, M.J. Ryan wrote simply and compassionately about life’s challenges, including responding to unplanned changes and following through on commitments and plans.
Her books include self-assessments, succinct notes of encouragement and de-stigmatization, and practical suggestions and resources.
Several are self-published and though out-of-print, remain available online:

This Year I Will…: How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True

Another of her books deals with managing unplanned changes:
AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For

See related post on McGonigal’s twin sister, gamer Jane McGonigal, whose TED talk discusses the value to games to improve the quality, duration, and experience of life.

-*What practices have helped you develop and exercise “willpower” to change behaviors and thoughts?

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