5: Use Games to Boost Energy: One of the most apparent effects gaming has on players is that it makes them feel more energised, more excited, more alive. You get bored in day to day life so you jump into a game and get a visceral boost of excitement.

Well, why not make use of that boost in energy? Next time you’re working at home and you feel yourself getting bored and your energy levels dropping, set a timer for ten minutes, load up your platform, jump into an action-packed game (FPSs or fighting games will work well). When the timer goes off you’ll find you’re feeling much more positively energised and can return to work with more vim and vigor, making you much more productive.



4: For Creative Thinking: Games can be a fantastic way of finding new inspiration for creative work. How? There are two ways. The first is easily understood. New ideas come to you when you relax and when you take your mind off of your work, so simply take one hour to play either a heavily story-centred game (with a story you want to get into, one which will spark your imagination and make you forget all about your work) or play a very relaxing game. Either of these ways will help your working mind to relax, which is essential to the construction of new ideas.


The second way to use games to find new ideas is by playing games that force you to think creatively. There are a few really good games for this, most of which you’ll find in either the puzzle genre or RPGs with lots of puzzles (as puzzles often require creative thinking to solve) or in the best platform games like Mario Galaxy 2, which often make very creative use of space. These three genres all inspire gamers to use their creative brains, an inspiration which will bleed into other areas of life, including work, to help inspire creativity there too.



3: For Positive Psychology and Personality Development: Just yesterday, we reported that scientists had proven how reading books makes people develop their personality to be more like their favourite character. The same is true for movies, with movies making viewers become more like the characters they most associate with. And the same is true for any game which you feel very closely related to the lead character.

That doesn’t mean that playing Sonic will make you a hedgehog. But in a story driven game, like one of the Final Fantasy games, for instance, you will naturally being to develop certain traits of your favourite character just by playing the game for a long time. In other words, if you love Aeris, and you play and read and watch Final Fantasy stories, then you will likely develop your spirituality (which is a good thing, given that the health benefits of spirituality are immense).

So, choose a game with a character you feel very close to and one that inspires you in a positive way, and spend time playing that game and actually getting into the character and the story, rather than simply blasting away mindlessly.



2: To develop impulsiveness: This one comes with a great big grain of salt, because being impulsive is not always a good thing. The fact of the matter is that some people are overly impulsive already and actually need to learn to think before acting. However, if you’re not of that character type and instead like to spend time dwelling in your own brain, thinking things out meticulously and never actually acting or doing things, then you may very well wish to consider playing some games that force you to live in the moment, to act on impulse.

The best games for that are either those which require very fast reaction times (shooters are good here) or games that scare you and which make you jumpy (you know, the kind when you’re on the edge of your seat and you blast off twenty rounds of hellfire as soon as anything moves—which, of course, is again acting on impulse).

Ask yourself: do you think too much or not enough? If you think too much then play action games that make you work on impulse. If you don’t think enough, play more strategic games where you get torn apart for making rash decisions (fighting games can again be good here, as can RTSs).


1: To Develop Mindfulness: We’ve covered mindfulness quite a lot here on A Role Model, but it certainly is a subject that is worth covering time and again. Mindfulness is essentially the quality of being aware and without judgement of your surroundings. The health benefits of mindfulness are so numerous that they’d make a list longer than the original World of Warcraft manual, but to name a few, mindfulness helps boost your immune system, promote calmness and well being and even improves your social life. And mindfulness can be inspired through games.


How? Three letters: RPGs. Play an extremely relaxing RPG game that involves a lot of discovery (like the ones with slightly-different textured areas of walls that indicate hidden pathways) and you’ll find yourself focussing absolutely on the meticulous details of the game world, which is essentially mindfulness in a nutshell. “And that can strengthen your immune system?!” you say? Yes, yes it can. . . provided you play the games through calmly instead of just getting annoyed and smashing the controller when you get stuck. Still, if all else fails you can just roll with Deepak Chopra and Journey.

Thanks for reading. Happy gaming!


Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.


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