Have you ever heard of SuperBetter?* Now in Beta testing, this website/game is designed to help people recover from just about everything. From their web site:
SuperBetter is powered by the science of positive emotion and social connection. Every mission in the game is directly inspired by leading-edge research in psychology, neuroscience and medicine — research that helps us understand how we can increase our ability to become stronger and more successful in the face of challenges and the pursuit of our goals.
Although this project was initially inspired by its creator’s struggles to overcome traumatic brain injury, beta testers are now using its principles to make changes such as:
- Losing weight
- Overcoming addictions
- Conquering post-traumatic stress disorder
- Improving health in the face of chronic illness
- Recovering from an injury
- Meeting fitness goals
- Improving sleep patterns
- Lowering stress
One especially cool aspect of the game is the idea of “Power-Ups”. They’re the real-life version of those little glowing spheres a video character can collect in order to restore health or energy in a video game, activities or items that re-energize, inspire, soothe, or otherwise make your life better. These are different from rewards. They’re intended to improve your “positivity ratio”, because research shows that positivity has numerous benefits, including increased creativity and decreased anxiety.
What does this have to do with writing?
What can I say? I have a one-track mind, and when I find nifty tools for self-improvement, I like to think about how it might be applied to my writing life. This idea of “power-ups” is a great addition to the writer’s toolbox. They can be used fuel creativity, counter negative self-talk, energize, inspire—basically, to inject some positive into the day-to-day of being a writer.
SuperBetter inspired me to make a list of writing power-ups to help me keep my balance as a writer—and to give me a jump-start when needed:
- Take a reading break
- Read a book on writing craft
- Read an inspirational book or article
- Splurge on that new novel from a favorite author
- Venture forth on a research-gathering mission
- Or a people-watching mission
- Or bike to the local coffee shop for a change of writing scenery
- Write a poem
- Write to a prompt
- Brainstorm kooky story ideas
- Give myself a Twitter break
- Or visit some writing friends’ blogs
- Or call up a local writing buddy for a write-in—or just to chat
- Light a candle
- Clear some clutter
- Create a montage of inspirational objects
- Add some flowers
- Clear your head by journaling about life
- Or journal about a character, plot idea, or setting
- Take a few deep breaths
Please add your power-up ideas in the comments and I’ll add them to the list!
*For more information about SuperBetter, its creator, and the science behind it, check out Gamer Heal Thyself With Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter.