April 16th, 2012
03:44 PM ET

Jane McGonigal: 'A game saved my life'

By Jane McGonigal, Special to CNN

(CNN) - “When you’re on your deathbed, will you really wish you’d spent more time playing Angry Birds?”

It’s a question I hear all the time. And understandably so: I’m probably the world’s leading advocate of spending more time, not less, playing computer and video games.

Why am I so passionate about spending more time playing games (ideally, at least 30 minutes every day)? Because heaps of scientific evidence over the past few years – from an extremely diverse group of investigators, such as Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life, the U.S Army’s Mental Health Assessment Team, Michigan State University’s Department of Psychology and Massachusetts General Hospital - have shown that games can increase our mental, emotional and social resilience.

Games can make us more resilient in the face of tough challenges, better able to learn from mistakes, more likely to cooperate with others on difficult problems and more creative in coming up with new solutions. They can alleviate depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. New research from Stanford University just this month even shows, through fMRI imagery of the brain, exactly how games boost our motivation and self-efficacy at the neurological level. Games build up our belief that we can take positive steps to affect the outcome of our lives – and game help us be more motivated to take those steps and not give up. FULL POST

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Filed under: Gaming • Innovation • Tech • The Next List • Video