Playing & Depression

Sometimes one literally trips over something truly wonderful. I came across a quote from:

REALITY IS BROKEN by Jane McGonigal:

How Games Provoke Positive Emotion

Games make us happy because they are hard work that we choose for ourselves, and it turns out that almost nothing makes us happier than good, hard work.

We don’t normally think of games is hard work. After all, we play a game and we been taught to think of play as the very opposite of work. But a leading psychologist once said, “the opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.”

When we are depressed, we suffer from a pessimistic sense of inadequacy, and a despondent lack of activity. A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we good at (or getting better at) and enjoy.

In other words, gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression… We are intensely engaged… In precisely the right frame of mind and physical condition to generate all kinds of positive emotions and experiences… Our attention systems, reward centers, our motivation systems, emotion and memory centers – all fully activated by gameplay.

If only hard work in the real world at the same effect. Hard work is too often something we do because we have to do it to make a a living, to get ahead to meet someone else’s expectations, or simply because someone else gave us a job to do. . . . When we don’t choose hard work for ourselves, it’s usually not the right work, at the right time, for the right person.

It’s not perfectly customized for our strengths, we’re not in control of the workflow, we don’t have a clear picture of what were contributing to, and we never see how it all pays off in the end. Hard work that someone else requires us to do just doesn’t activate our happiness system in the same way. It all too often doesn’t absorb us, doesn’t make us optimistic” invigorated.”

Jane McGonigal’s attitude to gameplay is refreshing and cuts right to the heart of why small children learn so rapidly, and adolescents, remembering their kindergarten days, too often resist learning.

If only we could develop games that would appeal to adolescents particularly in the field of economics I believe we might see a Brave New World on the horizon.


About helenscribe

Helen is a long-time writer, with experience in both fiction and non-fiction. Her latest fiction, an English cozy mystery "The Domino Deaths" is available on Amazon. She is also an amateur painter and sailor.
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