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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 January 17, 2019

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                      Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                      Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                      Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                      Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                      The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                      There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                      How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                      According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                      Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                      Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                      The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                      Listen carefully:

                      We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                      The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                      Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                      8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                      There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                      Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                      1. Pray Daily

                      You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                      When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                      Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                      Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                      2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                      A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                      By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                      Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                      If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                      This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                      How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                      3. Smile Often

                      Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                      Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                      Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                      The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                      4. Organize Your Working Desk

                      A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                      When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                      Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                      Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                      5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                      I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                      Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                      What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                      6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                      God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                      I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                      I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                      7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                      You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                      How do you do that? This is my formula:

                      First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                      If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                      If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                      If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                      Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                      8. Go Exercise

                      Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                      The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                      You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                      12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                      The Bottom Line

                      It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                      It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                      Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                      More Resources About Mindfulness

                      Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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