Living Gamefully

Hello again.

This post is dedicated to the people who feel lost, confused and struggle to find meaning out of something. I’m sure all my fellow twenty-somethings (and other somethings) out there can relate to this.

I recently started reading SuperBetter:  A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver, and More Resilient on my commute rides to and fro work. If you’re more familiar with my earlier posts – one of my goals is to fill the ample commute time with reading. I randomly stumbled upon this book in the library and was drawn from the author’s experience of suffering a severe concussion and trying to find the motivation to continue living. The author – Jane McGonigal shares this traumatic experience that led her bedridden while mentally and physically not being able to do things that she once could. One day she realizes that she can either end her life or challenge herself as if she was a character in a game to approach tasks skillfully. She chose the latter. Inspired from her game researching past, setting up her life like a game gave her the invigoration of living again.

For example, she mentions the importance of  “power ups”. Similar to video games, power ups are things you can do to give you the motivated boost of feeling better. Let’s say I have trouble getting up in the morning, a power up can be making a cup of matcha green tea to help me get my day going. McGonigal also sets up a series of quests, which are exercises the readers must do in order to practice the “Super Better” game in life. It’s been really fun doing the series of challenges and feeling some sort of accomplishment. Here are some key takeaways from the book I’d like to share with you:

  • Cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more “gameful” mindset
  • Being gameful means channeling the psychological strengths we experience when playing video games – such as creativity, optimism, courage and determination to real-world goals
  • Your ability to control your attention, and therefore your thoughts and feelings
  • Your power to turn anyone into a potential ally, and to strengthen your existing relationships
  • Your natural capacity to motivate yourself and supercharge your heroic qualities, like compassion, willpower and determination

The next time you are stuck in a funk, remember to challenge yourself and try to approach a challenge like a game you are motivated to win. It will be rewarding.

 

 

Tiny Grains of Gratitude

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Gilbert Chesteron, an English writer, once said “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

This past weekend has been especially rough and challenging to fathom what has happened in Orlando. These events are tragic and heartless. To sum up in one word: inhumane. It shakes me to the core that this happened so close to home. It is a devastating reality.

To heal, we have to find some light within the darkness. The lightness I find is that all these people were celebrating and living their lives until the horror occurred. Whether it was a devoted musician connecting with her fans after a show or a group of friends celebrating pride, all of these people were living their best lives.

Highs and lows in life is inevitable, it’s all part of the roller coaster of life. But through the highs and lows, the balance comes with gratitude. And this is something I have consciously been practicing everyday. Gratitude to me is uncovering the goodness out of a bad situation, and the affirmation of what pleasant moment you are experiencing.

Over the weekend, I also had the worst migraine and nausea of my life. It crippled me so much that I could not even sit up without collapsing and vomiting everything I consumed. Breaking out in cold sweat with a fever, my body was sending a SOS. During those runs to the toilet and the routine of eating something with the fleeting hope of keeping it down, I told myself that I have to take better care of my body. I wished I paused to appreciate more of the little things I have taken advantage of unconsciously. In those moments:

  • I missed the ability to drink water
  • I missed the ability to sit up straightly
  • I missed the ability to look at something without feeling like the room was spinning
  • I missed the ability to think clearly without feeling the pressure in my head
  • I missed the ability of getting out of bed with ease

Now, I sit here with my glass of water and bowl of rice. It makes me so grateful that I have the simple pleasure of having the ability to eat normally again. To think clearly again. To have hope that I am in a better state to carry on with my plans and obligations for tomorrow. I look at all these tiny grains of rice in my bowl and I’m comforted. I’m comforted that all these tiny little pieces make up one whole meal for me to nourish my body. I’m comforted that it only takes little pieces to make something or someone feel whole again.

Reader – I hope you find and carry your grain or grains of gratitude to fill you up in this tragic and beautiful life.

I’d love to hear from you on what you’re grateful for. Let’s allow to remind ourselves that there is so much goodness worth acknowledging. I’m grateful to have this platform to express my thoughts and connect with people like yourself. Thank you.