Watercooler Work-Life Balance

Simple Life Hacks to Improve Your Day


If you had the choice between going to work and hanging out at home and playing games (your mileage may vary, but imagine your favorite video game), phone app, board game with friends, game shows etc), which do you think would improve your mood?

Did you predict video games? Or going to work because work = money = sustenance = survival?
Either way, your day just got better! It’s science!

Jane McGonigal over at Lifehacker has adapted some tips from SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient, Powered by the Science of Games. She also gave a great Ted Talk on  changing your life, 7 minutes a day, by turning your life into a video game. I am obsessed with it.

So while you’re brushing your teeth or waiting for the coffee to brew, take a moment each day and make some predictions about anything you can personally make sure will or won’t happen in the next 24 hours. Whether your prediction is right or wrong, according to neuroscientist Dr. Judy Willis, the mere act of guessing whether you’ll get 10 emails before 9:30 or whether all the blueberry bagels will be gone by the time you get to the deli, wakes up and excites the reward circuitry of the brain, releasing dopamine into your system.

If your prediction is correct, your brain goes YAY. If it’s wrong, your brain analyzes the information, gets a little zing from the act of learning, and is more prepared to make a better guess next time. This is the same science that makes Candy Crush or Two Dots so impossible to step away from. When you play video games, every move or action registers like a mini-prediction in your brain, which watches attentively to see if you were successful and then figure out why not.

Put yourself in a state of “heightened engagement” every day–how many steps from the car to the front door? How many minutes before the train comes? How many yawns in the morning meeting? You’ll go into your workday more awake and optimistic just by treating life as a series of objectives, just like your favorite RPG (mine is LEGO Jurassic Park, actually, but you get the idea).

 Why Making Predictions About Your Day Will Improve Your Outlook

 Read More at Life Hacker


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About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.

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