What is my favorite health-related app on my iPhone?? There are several I like, but none that I enjoy as much as the Superbetter I am a podcast junkie. I listen to about 15 different podcasts on a regular basis, mostly at night because I have some bizarre type of sleep disorder that refuses to let me sleep at night. So I listen and learn a lot about topics that interest me, such as advances in medicine and anything science-y, including a fun series by the Stuff You You Should Know folks called “Stuff to Blow Your Mind” and another, “Stuff Your Mom Never Told You.” One of the podcasts referred to a TED Talk given by a woman that was an online game designer that had suffered a serious concussion, and how it changed her life. So, of course, I downloaded it and listened. Jane McGonigal is the game designer. In her 17 min TEDTalk, Jane insightfully describes how the principles that make a successful game, such as World of Warcraft, can be applied to reality to address our life and health challenges. Her inspiration was the difficult time she had recovering from her concussion, which had rendered her unable to work and restricted to bed rest, which ultimately led to depression and suicidal thoughts. The “game” she designed in response to the challenges she was facing she names “Superbetter,” and uses features like Quests, Power-Ups, battling Bad Guys, and teaming up with real-life Allies to help attack tiny portions of the things that challenge us and effect our social, emotional and physical health. Every portion of the game is customizable to your unique challenge, or you can choose to use the prepared Power Packs that are designed to target things like anxiety, overeating, insomnia and social phobias/isolation. Each Quest, Power-Up and Bad Guy is expertly backed up with cogent scientific research by Jane’s amazing research team. Points are awarded for completion of these tasks, for checking in with Allies, and taking other steps to your “Epic Win.” (OK, I’ll share my Epic Win with you: finding strength to be my own healthcare advocate; to try and find GOOD reasons to stick around; to make real connections so I don’t feel abandoned.) There are 2 parts to the game – a smartphone portion (that is a free download) and a web-based portion, at Superbetter.com, where you can connect with others playing the game in forums, and access your “Secret Lab” where the app tracks your progress during the game. My favorite part of the game is that through customization, it has allowed me to create specific prints that help me do things on a daily basis that make me feel like I am more of a human being than I felt before I started Superbetter. Another fun part was being able to create a “Secret Identity,” an alter ego or avatar, that gives us strength when we lack the motivation, desire or willpower ourselves. You can “play” the game completely anonymously, which some feel the need to do, while others go strictly by their Alter Ego’s name, and others use their screen name chosen for the game. A few use their real names. I use a blend of faux and real, depending on who I am talking with. This app is sheer genius. I e got degrees in sociology, psychology and biology and lemme tell ya – this app brats the pants off of any self-help or counseling program I’ve EVER been a part of in my 49 years!!! Listen to the TEDTalk and find out why Superbetter is awesome and how it can really change your life – realistically!