The McGonigal Twins

Have you heard of Jane or Kelly McGonigal? These identical twin sisters are revolutionizing the way we look at the world. Jane McGonigal is a video game designer who strongly believes that games and technology can help channel positive energy and thus, improve our lives. Health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal advocates for compassion and mindfulness as the best stress-coping strategies. Take a look at both of their TED talks!

Jane McGonigal: The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life (19:30)

In this TED talk, Jane describes her experience with depression and suicidal thoughts. During that time, she created a game called SuperBetter to help heal her. She explains how harnessing the power of a gamer’s attitude helped to save her life and how a game itself can boost your personal resilience.

SuperBetter Game (3:00)

Get a sneak preview of the SuperBetter game, and don’t forget to sign up and play!

Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend (14:28)

In Kelly’s TED talk, she urges us to re-think what we’ve learned about stress. Let’s make stress our friend! New research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Kelly hopes that we begin to see our sweaty palms and thumping hearts as positive reactions to stress.

Jane and Kelly McGongial: Oprah’s Thank You Game (2:31)

In an effort to spread gratitude around the world, the twins teamed up with Oprah to create this interactive way to encourage and display thankfulness. It’s pretty simple. Just give thanks.

Dive into one of Jane or Kelly’s inspirational books!

  • Yoga for Pain Relief: Simple Practices to Calm Your Mind and Heal Your Chronic Pain by Kelly McGonigal, (2009, ISBN 978-1572246898)
  • The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal, (2012, ISBN 978-1583335086)
  • The Neuroscience of Change: A Compassion-Based Program for Personal Transformation by Kelly McGonigal, (2012, ISBN 978-1604077902)
  • Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal, (2011, ISBN 978-1-5942-0285-8)


*Activity: Download this worksheet (Stress Research TED Talk Worksheet), and while watching Kelly’s TED talk, fill out at much as you can. This process will help to sort out all of these new, innovative ideas about stress.

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