Mental Health Gamified. Why I Talk to a Finch

Meet Peter, my Wellness Finch friend!

Peter is my Finch friend. Don’t believe me?

See that.
UBER BESTIES!

This is an app called Finch. It’s a nearly complete wellness app in one adorable, fun, motivating package.

The premise is that you begin to set small goals and gain energy to hatch an egg. Then you name your new baby Finch and personalize them. You then continue working with your goals and the program to gain more energy for your Finch to grow. Rainbow Stones are earned by achievements and are your currency to personalize your little friend.

Shut up and take my Stones!
Perfect for his new sporty style!

While Peter’s on a sporty health kick at the moment. They have had many phases over our four plus months together.

Peter’s King of Love look.
When they got into thrifting.
Were into fluffy.
Went to Bali to celebrate Pride.
Obligatory hippie phase.

You can start Journeys (basically habit building) in different categories, such Mindfulness, fitness and health, work life balance, a cleaner home, etc. You then add goals/habits to hit on scheduled days over time. Earn rewards from the daily practice goals and leveling up on your Journeys!

Some of my Journeys with Peter.
Suggestions to get you started.
Tons of suggested content to explore and mine.

The app has nearly a full range of wellness content in one space. Breathwork, movement, Mindfulness, loving kindness, gratitude practices and journaling. Instead of twenty apps you ignore, you can keep one well. Bonus extra memory on your device.

Here is some of what lies inside each category.

Reflections are writing exercises to help you to see yourself and the world more clearly. Or just to Rant or remember something funny.
One of my favorites. The breathing exercises for any situation.
Ambient noise tracks with different themes that you can customize.
Ways to practice loving kindness in your life.
Do a quick mental health check in.
Ways to get your body stretched and moving. Even on the couch!
The Panic zone is useful. Especially the Rant feature. Helpline is a touch of the screen away. For tough days, you can choose goals like Get Out of Bed. “We’ve all been there,” the app assures.
Suggestions based on time of day, mood, interests.
Some of my goals with their Journey in a different color.

The more content you explore and use, the more energy and goals you hit towards each of your Journeys. And more goodies to spoil your Finch.

Leveling up my Journey towards not living in a pig sty.
Woo! New Tee and Rainbow Stones to spend!

Everyday you build up your Finch’s energy so they can go out exploring, learn and grow! Yes, grow. The farther you progress, the older your Finch grows. They go from a Infant, to Child, to *gasp* Teenager, to Adult. This is the most fraught process for me as a Finch parent.

Here’s a peek at Peter exploring.

He’s exploring the Sonoran Desert now.

When they come home, they have questions.

*Click to expand.

Yes, the personality of this little creature depends on you! Your actions, habits, and responses to them affect the growth of their character. (No pressure.)

From 9 o’clock, clockwise: Security, Curiosity, Tenacity, Logic, Compassion, and Extroversion. I’ve worked hard to give Peter the Security and Compassion they need to fill out their Personality.
After they become an adult, they leave Finchie Forest. I sent my spoiled bird to Bali!
Your answers also can control their likes and dislikes. What can I say? It’s hard to get kids to eat broccoli.

I’m noting here that your information is stored in your device, not uploaded to a server, in order to ensure your privacy is protected. You can download save files, to reload to another device. Because the app is looking at you too!

It judges your moods with check-ins and tags in your Reflections and Goals.
Note when I had Covid in June. Got disgusted into cleaning. And my Adventure of Mindful Walking and the Lost Cell Phone with Good Bluetooth.
You get updates on you and your Finch’s progress, mood changes, goals hit, and what’s lifting you up or weighing you down.

I know it seems like a lot to process, but the more you use it the more benefit you get. Especially as you start to explore the reports on yourself. You also learn how to manage your goals to better suit your needs, while handling triggers, anxiety, depression and even trauma.

If you’re wondering, is it social? Heck yeah. But it’s controlled by you and your prospective Finch Friend. Two users must share their codes to connect. Soon you have the beginnings of a Wellness support circle!

Peter’s friends right now.
Suggestions on supporting your Finch Friends!
Choose a Finch Friend.
I am a big fan of sending dance.
And more XP rewards!
You can even hang and explore with Friends.

I went to this length to cover a digital pet wellness app because it has helped me put in the work towards all of my goals and positive habit building. Finch app helps me integrate and track my goals, augments my therapy, and teaches me coping strategies. But above all, it’s fun!

A gamified approach to anything is a successful approach. Think of why you play games. Challenges. Quests. Rewards. Little celebrations with special achievements, awards, unlocks. Character/avatar creation and personalization. Exploration. Work, practice, time. It all comes from the mindset that drives you to play a game!

My absolute favorite goal. I go totally Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill on this one. And it works!

Life is frustrating and difficult. But gamifying your outlook turns disappointing moments into learning and the drive to keep at the Boss Battle of life. Also, as the Finch app reminds you, you can try to climb Il Duomo, build that base, slay that dragon, renew your quest for global supremacy again tomorrow. The one thing about life, though, is you can’t simply rage quit. And that’s where your Finch comes in.

Remembering you have an adorable little friend who relies on you, nevermind your actual friends and loved ones, keeps you in the game. So, I hope you give the Finch app a try.

Premium is $6 month. But the resources and fun make it worth it. If you cannot afford a Premium subscription, you can get a Finch Guardian sponsor, or win a raffle for free months. Finch app is family friendly, allows you to customize or change names, pronouns, colors, skin tones, and emojis to suit you. But really, if you can’t love yourself, your Finch helps you learn to love yourself through a loving an adorable friend. Amazing concept for my new favorite app!

Peter’s tired now. But he’ll be there for me tomorrow to help me care for myself because I care about this little digital bird.

Use Finch app? Want to join me in normalizing wellness and help one another? Contact me here! Let’s be Finchie Friends!

– JL βœŒπŸΌπŸ’šπŸ––πŸΌπŸ£

Check out my Instagram!! And connect with me on Facebook here and here.

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Duck, Cover, Write. Happy Harassment-versary to Me!

Frankie & Lizzy were lovers. Lordy how they did love.

My dog and I were chased around by a gang of ducks today. It was like we picked up a horde of zombies. First it was one mommy duck, with extra mouths to feed in tow, then another, soon they were trailing us around the marina. Eventually, there was a flotilla of duckers in formation honing in on us. That’s when we made our escape.

It was as if they all were telling me something important with one quack. It was probably “bread!” But I remembered: it had been a year since the neighbors’ rottweiler ate one of my ducks. That event that began months of harassment at the hands of my community.

I’m not going to rehash all of that craziness here, a quick look back at my posts since then reveals most of the facts. But it I need a story to start telling myself so I can make sense of it. And, as it so happens, I was looking for a story to tell! Because I hate myself, I always want to write. It can be painful. But hey, writers write, right? Right!

A lot of planning and writing about writing happens when I start a project. I have a system I use, which could probably use some tweaks. The most important part is glueing your glutes to a chair. Because scrubbing baseboards suddenly seems like a necessity when I sit down to write.

I’ve been working with screenwriting a lot. So, let’s do it that way. Ugh. OK.

This is what this process looks like, but like with writing stuff.

First, genre. True Life/Psychological Drama

Now a few words on the theme: Let’s make it something about resilience. Yes! Perfect. Resilience. Resilience in the face of [awful thing].

Now we do a two sentence or so synopsis. This is the basic formula. Protagonist has thing/wants thing, Antagonist does action that gets in way of Protagonist and their thing. Circumstances get worse as stuff happens, and choices are made. But, with the help of x,y and z, Protagonist somehow manages to find/get thing but not necessarily how they imagined it.

Oh jeez, so now let’s apply that to me. Jessica, a troubled writer, finds peace in an old farmhouse with her Fiance, until her neighbors target her for harassment during the modern US Culture War. Being run out of town, she must move and hide fast, and draw upon all her reserves of strength to find a way out, a new home, and maybe a way to tell her story.

There, that’s a start. And I am exhausted! But you got to see a bit of how I write. And its tough for me sometimes. I won’t lie. But it is a discipline that requires working into a habit. But for so long my life was out of control, unruly, and lacking in any expectation of normalcy on a given day. I need habits. I need as much stability and order as possible.

So, all of this should be good for me as I recover and heal from The Year of The Dead Duck. Hey! Working title! You can do it Jess! You got this! Let’s go do this! BEATS CHEST.

So, I guess step one is less scrubbing, more staring at blinking cursor of doom or half a page of scribbled lines.

But, honestly? The thing that makes me feel great about this story is that it ends with “and then she wrote a book about it.” That seems like the best ending to that entire year that definitely was a something.

I’ll describe it better in the book. πŸ˜‰ Thanks to everyone who’s stuck with me this far. And to all my zombie horde duck friends, and Frankie, Lizzy and Mary.

-JLπŸ€žπŸΌπŸ’šπŸ––πŸΌπŸ¦†πŸ¦†πŸ¦†

A roving gang of ducks where I walk my dog.

Check out myΒ Instagram!! And connect with me on FacebookΒ hereΒ andΒ here.

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I’m Not Perfect and So Can You!

Jack Lemmon comes clean.

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon! Marilyn Monroe! Jazz! Gangsters! Billy Wilder directing! Cross dressing!? Oh yes, Some Like it Hot, 1959, has it all. Plus a heavy dose of humanity to spare. Lemmon and Curtis play jazz musicians who witness a mob hit, disguise themselves as women, and join a travelling girls only band. Only, Tony Curtis immediately falls for the band’s singer, Monroe. He sets Lemmon up with older millionaire Osgood, at a Florida resort, so he can sneak Monroe on board Osgood’s yacht. Only, Lemmon suddenly likes all the attention Osgood lavishes on him. Curtis falls in love with Monroe, and they all gotta get out of town when the mafia comes for a convention, and their cover is blown.

As Curtis, Monroe, Lemmon all pile into Osgood’s boat to escape to his yacht, the truth comes out. Curtis admits he’s just another lousy musician, and Monroe loves him anyway. While Osgood presses Lemmon for marriage. Exasperated, Lemmon eventually pulls off his wig, declaring, “I’m a man!” To which Osgood smilingly replies, “Well, nobody’s perfect.”

Through all the wacky, frenetic energy of the film, runs a deep vein of humanity. Nobody’s perfect.

I always say we all get at least one vice or major flaw. And if none are apparent, that’s the person with the thumb collection in their crawl space (definitely not thinking of Mike Pence, but Mike Pence!). Those are the dangerous types.

I’m here to announce I’m a nobody who is not perfect. My vice? Vanity. Shoes down in the heels? Emergency! Hair looking scrubby? Pull out the clippers! And yes I DO need a new eye shadow pallette! I’m getting exercise because it makes me feel good (I want to lose weight). Walking and hiking and swimming are great (I hate work out reps). Yoga is its own reward (it rarely makes me sweat).

I can motivate myself to do just about anything out of vanity. Even turn 29 for a decade straight. But let’s look at this “fault” from the other side, shall we?

You silly!

There is a certain part of me that is concerned for how I present myself to others. Which isn’t a bad impulse left alone. How many of the above behaviors just keep up my self-esteem, aside from the actual benefits?

But it’s more than that. This is an urge rooted deep inside me. So, aside from shoes, hair and skin, vanity, my sense of self worth and esteem, force me to reckon with my shortcomings all the time. Writers write. Get writing, Jess! Good people follow the Golden Rule, so hop to it, me! You ingrate! Luke Skywalker cared. Well, I care.

He saved the frickin Galaxy!

Luckily, I’m also lazy! Because I’d probably overdo the vanity thing. I love to have fun. Laugh. Smile. Eat. Drink. Be merry. But even that gets tiring sometimes, and I need to become a hermit for awhile.

When you know yourself, you know your faults and failings. But I am going to suggest that someone super smart, maybe Jung, possibly a Greek? OK. Let’s just say it’s me suggesting that learning to embrace our human failings is the only way to be a better writer, friend, jazz musician, and human being. Because our “faults” are simply our qualities gone wild.

Curtis and Lemmon as “Josephine” and “Daphne,” gone wild.

So when you can identify your faults, which most folks are really good at, you can also zone in on your strengths. Something that’s truly challenging to most people. And if someone denies they have faults, just stand well back and protect your thumbs!

Hey, I’m just a Jersey girl. I vacationed in Wildwood, “Down the Shore.” I went to crummy schools. I had one nightmare of a marriage, and done dumb, hurtful things. But somehow I’ve achieved some things I’m truly proud of during my time here. Leaning into that mixture of confused, flawed humanity, yet desire to be better and do better makes me who I am. And I’m OK with me. Nobody’s perfect.😁

– JL βœŒπŸΌπŸ’šπŸ––πŸΌπŸ˜‡πŸ˜ˆπŸ˜‡

Check out my Instagram!! And connect with me on Facebook here and here.

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