How to Turn Everything Into a Game and Get Better at It
Let’s talk about how to turn everything into a game. Have you ever wondered why it is you enjoy games so much, and have you ever wondered why it is you dislike your job so much? What is the difference between pressing buttons on an Xbox and pressing buttons on keyboards?
The answer may surprise you; it actually comes down to your effort and how much you care about what you are doing.
You care about the games you play, and you make the effort because you want to get better at them… because there’s constant variety and plot progression to keep things interesting. This makes you try harder in order to progress, and that in turn gives you the feeling of reward that makes the game play satisfying.
From a neurochemical perspective, this boils down to the release of dopamine. Each time you attempt a level or challenge, you first visualize it happening in your mind’s eye. Then, when you attempt it for real and it goes according to plan just as you had visualized it, you get a release of that wonderful reward hormone dopamine. Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone. It’s actually highly addictive, and that can be enough to make you want to try again. That’s why it’s so hard to put down your current favorite game! The release of dopamine and also of serotonin helps to reinforce the neural connections required to perform the task again. This strengthens your likelihood of doing the same thing again in the future with improved technique and improves your technique and ability in general.
When you don’t care so much about the outcome, you don’t have this trial/reward loop. As a result, it can end up feeling like a dull grind. Some pundits say it would follow that to change this, all you need to do is to start taking things more seriously and actually focus on what you’re doing. I would suggest that you break your tasks into small, doable bits. Set yourself a time deadline and finish on time and doing a good job. It might not be a game, but you are rather making a game out of a work related task.
The Most Basic
Let’s say that you have to write something by hand. This is a mundane task and something most of us won’t pay much attention to. I know this doesn’t happen that much anymore, but stay with me here; I have a point to share.
Instead of simply doing it absent-mindedly, you may want to try instead to really focus on doing it as perfectly as possible. Try to let the pen flow perfectly as you write and to write with the most perfect handwriting you can muster whether it’s cursive or printing. Visualize it happening as you write, and again, set yourself a time deadline.
Simply paying attention to your writing in this way and making it as perfect as you can will make you more engaged and will make it more likely that you get the release of dopamine when it goes well. You’ve turned the mundane into a game. Why? Because the brain loves learning and improving and it certainly loves a challenge. So turn everything into a game and never stop learning!
How may I serve you in your quest for optimal mental and physical health?
Cheryl A Major
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information, live and online courses and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
In January, 2020, Cheryl’s book, “Eat Your Blues Away” will be available in Whole Foods!