Tracking how you’re feeling from day to day can be a helpful and mindful practice. By checking in with yourself at the end of each day you can take stock of what emotions you’ve experienced, activities you’ve enjoyed, and difficulties you’ve learned from.
Play is an essential part of everyone’s life and is necessary for a healthy mind and body. Though you may feel like spending 30 minutes of creating a Minecraft fortress is a waste of time, numerous studies and researchers have shown otherwise (1). In a general sense, playing video games (in moderation) has been shown to help with executive functioning, creativity, and persistence (2).
Whether you enjoy Candy Crush or Tetris they can be a positive (with moderation). Each of these specific games has been shown to assist with various aspects of our mental health. For example playing Tetris following exposure to a traumatic event can disrupt the steps that would take place to file a traumatic memory into long-term memory, decreasing the long-term effects and potential for intrusive memories. It’s also been found that playing World of Warcraft assist individuals experiencing Autism Spectrum Disorders in building emotional comprehension (3).
Check out the video featuring Jane McGonigal below for more information on how all of this works.
A “simple” trick that I have many of my clients do - to begin to sit with ambiguity and to highlight the dialectics that occur within our everyday lives - is to switch the use of the word “but” to “and.” Let me give an example.
Let’s say you’re describing a day that started out quite excellent, which then was interrupted with an inconvenience. Many people would describe the situation in a way like this.
“Oh I was having the greatest day. I woke up fully rested, I had an excellent cup of coffee, and my partner had taken the dog out for a walk; it was excellent. But then I went to start the car and the battery was dead.”
When we use the word but, it negates everything that came before it. We no longer care about that great morning, we instead are focused on the one perceived negative of the dead battery. A more effective way of describing the situation, that allows the positives of the day to continue would be to swap “but” out for “and.”
“Oh I was having the greatest day. I woke up fully rested, I had an excellent cup of coffee, and my partner had taken the dog out for a walk; it was excellent; And then I went to start the car and the battery was dead.”
It changes the tone of the thought we’re having and the story we’re telling both ourselves and others. No longer is the positive discarded; instead both events are given space and it balances out a bit.
Give it a try!