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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Playing Video Games

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Playing Video Games

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “video games?” Unhealthy, overweight man-boys addicted to living in an imaginary world, in which they shoot off the faces of their opponents?  Okay, this is the case some of the time, but really, video games are so much more. I have found out that there are many surprising benefits to playing video games, so I am slightly less embarrassed to admit that I play them myself.

1. Video games can teach and/or enforce teamwork.

A variety of video games have been created that involve a team of people (whether in your living room or in a different state) working together toward a common goal.

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2. Video games may be able to improve vision.

Did your mother ever tell you to not to stare at your computer screen for too long? Okay, she was correct in that your eyes need a break every now and again, but a study was conducted by a psychologist that may have proof that detailed video games involving aiming and shooting at objects improve declining vision.

3. Your surgeon may perform better if he/she plays video games regularly.

Have you ever watched the sitcom Scrubs? The main character and his friend, a surgeon, often partake in seemingly adolescent activities, one of them being video games. It turns out that this fictitious surgeon was likely more skilled at laparoscopic surgery due to the increased hand-eye coordination from these electronic games.

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4. Video games teach you multi-tasking.

In The Sims game, you might be controlling many different characters at once. You need to figure out how to coordinate their actions to achieve the best results in the game. This ability can transfer to tasks like driving a car and dealing with distractions inside of the car as well as keeping track of the cars around you.

5. Video games can benefit those dealing with stress or depression.

Video games give you the ability to get lost in a world you can control without true problems or consequences. An article in the New York Times highlighted a woman dealing with depression with the game Bejeweled. This does not go for all video games, but certain games can even give you a Zen-like feel where you can play without real effort or boredom.

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6. Video games can help those dealing with severe pain.

Studies have showed that patients who were allowed to play video games requested less pain killer. The thought is that the patients were so engrossed in the game that their pain seemed miles away. As a result, there is a lower chance of addiction to powerful pain medications.

7. Video games are not all violent (and/or drive you to violent tendencies).

Are you completely shocked? Before writing this post, I was a tad ashamed to admit I have spent hours upon hours playing The Sims games and more recently Sims 2 (no, I have not splurged for Sims 3 for fear of never leaving my laptop again). This game is anything but violent. The entire premise is living life. You can get a job, build a house, have numerous babies and raise a whole family of dogs if you wish. You can go to college, meet your true love and graduate with honors. Okay, yes, that sounds a little sad to be doing all of this in a video game, but stay with me and check out some of the benefits of playing video games.

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8. Not all video games require you to sit still and stare at a screen for hours on end.

Many video games have physical aspects (and rightfully so). You can pretend you are playing anything from bowling to boxing to participating in a dance competition. There are even games specifically engineered to improve physical fitness.

9. Many video games have been created for children.

I was completely taken aback when I witnessed a three year old playing a game on her mom’s ipad. Younger children are learning to play with electronic devices, so a variety of educational video games have been created to enrich the young mind. It is even thought that video games are an interactive venue that will soon replace textbooks…however crazy that sounds.

10. The last one: I heard on the radio there are video games designed for cats.

I, however, choose to be in denial that cats can use electronics.

Video games not only provide endless entertainment, but there are surprising benefits. If you have not already, consider picking up a game to boost your mental (and possibly physical) capabilities.

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Amanda DeWitt

Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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