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10 Video Games to Boost Creativity

10 Video Games to Boost Creativity

It’s been a long time since video games have shed the image of being a complete waste of time. In fact, scientists often agree that playing video games has a direct correlation on a person’s creative thought process. Almost every video game requires some sort of critical thinking (definitely more than spending the same amount of time watching TV). I’m not saying that solely playing video games will make you a super-genius… but I’m not, not saying that either.

1. Minecraft

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    We’ll get the obvious one out of the way first. I’m going to assume that you’ve at least heard of Minecraft, even if you haven’t found yourself exploring the game personally yet. A quick search on YouTube yields an incredible amount of tutorials on how to create humongous structures, and the most creative people have designed actual games-within-the-game, such as Pacman. At that point, it’s only a matter of time before Minecraft becomes our reality a la The Matrix.

    2. Terraria

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      At first glance, Terraria is a Minecraft clone translated into 2 dimensions (think Super Mario World graphics), but it’s so much more. The game requires you to build structures to support NPCs (non-playable characters, but if you’re reading this I imagine you know that) that help you in your quest in various ways, and it’s almost impossible to progress in the game without doing so. The power-ups and armor builds that players can create as they move forward in Terraria are absolutely mind-blowing. Like Minecraft, Terraria requires either outside research, or an incredible amount of trial-and-error creativity.

      3. Little Big Planet

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        The Little Big Planet series is a side-scroller that transcends the side-scrolling genre. On the surface, the idea is to go from left to right and get to the end of the level. The charm of LPB is in completing in-level puzzles in order to find hidden stickers that are used to unlock various other rewards and puzzles throughout the game. Users can also create their own levels, and much like Minecraft, this is limited only by the player’s imagination. People have actually recreated other famous games (such as the original Legend of Zelda) within the level creator in Little Big Planet. C’mon now!

        4. Big Brain Academy

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          With versions available for the DS and Wii, Big Brain Academy consists of various games that focus on a variety of mental skills: Think, Analyze, Compute, Identify, and Memorize. With numerous exercises available for each skill set, players have a variety of ways to keep their mind fresh on a daily basis. You can also play against multiple friends on the Wii for bragging rights of most mentally with-it.

          5. Animal Crossing

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            Animal Crossing is possibly the most relaxing game on the list (except of course doing those lousy chores for Tom Nook). At any rate, you can’t fail playing Animal Crossing. You simply walk around your town visiting NPCs and trading items to add to your home. You can fish, dig for treasure, and visit other (real) players’ cities as well. When you complete tasks for Tom Nook, your home grows in size, allowing for more decorating. Though it’s a circular process that pretty much never ends, there’s a ton of variation within the game that allows for creativity and replay value.

            6. Scribblenauts

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              Get deep enough into Scribblenauts, and you might accidentally reset the universe. The game allows you to create anything you can describe and use it to solve puzzles within each stage. You can create a psychedelic rabid tyrannosaurus, a crazed purple monkey, or even a time machine. The designers of Scribblenauts anticipated almost everything the player would think of, and the amount of “easter eggs” within the game is inexhaustible. The hardest part of the game is not looking anything up and just expanding your mind to think of different creations you could invent.

              7. SimCity

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                SimCity has been a mainstay for creativity since 1989. Players create their own city—everything from building zones to utilities like power plants and water pumps. You also have to manage money correctly by raising and lowering taxes based on the needs of your city (and not spending too much on a statue of yourself or something). With SimCity, you’ll never build the same town twice; there’s always something to improve, and again, the game is limited only by your creativity.

                8. Portal

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                  In Portal, players use a special gun to create… portals… that let the character teleport from one area to another. It sounds simple, but trust me: it’s not. You have to anticipate the chain reaction your next move will have, and respond quickly to changes in your environment. While there is definitely an optimal solution to each puzzle, there are so many options for each puzzle that figuring out the best way is a long trial-and-error process. And besides the creative thought it takes to get to the end, the final boss is one of the best in any video game you’ll ever play.

                  9. The Sims
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                    The Sims is one of the most popular casual PC games out there. If you’ve never played it (which is doubtful), in The Sims, you take control of a person’s life. You make every decision for your Sim, from when he’ll use the bathroom, to who he marries, to what career he jumps into, and everything in between. You can also create the mansion he lives in, and all of its furnishings. You can also think of creative ways to torture your Sim, but don’t judge me by that suggestion; everyone’s done it at one point…

                    10. Tetris
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                      Okay, Tetris. I see you. I didn’t forget you. The original puzzle game, Tetris requires quick decisions, on-the-fly planning, and creative thought. I’m not even going to explain how to play Tetris, because if you got this far in the article, I would bet my life that you’ve played it before. Tell me that after a long session of Tetris, you couldn’t rearrange your furniture or the food in your pantry to make them fit perfectly. You can’t. End of story.

                      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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                      Last Updated on September 10, 2019

                      7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                      7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                      Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

                      Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

                      This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

                      One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

                      Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

                      Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

                      1. Gratitude

                      Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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                      The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

                      Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

                      So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

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                        2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

                        This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

                        For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

                        What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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                        Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

                        3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

                        This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

                        Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

                        An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

                        Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

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                          4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

                          According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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                          There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

                          5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

                          Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

                          Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

                          6. Rise Earlier

                          The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

                          For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

                          So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

                          Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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                          7. Listen to Uplifting Music

                          Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

                          Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

                          It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

                          Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

                          More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

                          Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
                          [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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