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Pokémon (Let it) Go: How You Can Stop it From Ruining Your Life

As Pokémon GO gets more and more popular, the opposition gets louder and grumpier:

“Quit playing games and do something useful! This is so stupid!”

“If everyone wasting time with Pokémon GO actually contributed to society, we’d have world peace.”

“I hate fun.”

Okay, I haven’t actually seen anyone post that last one, but they might as well have, because that’s pretty much what they’re saying.

Look, I’m sure you Poké-haters are indeed spending every minute of your waking life saving the world instead of watching Game of Thrones, taking funny videos of your cat, or posting messages on Facebook that try to ruin everyone’s fun.

Oh, wait…

(Okay, bad yogi rant over. I’m wearing my literal and figurative yoga pants for the rest of this article.)

Here’s the beautiful thing about this physical world we live in: we all get to decide for ourselves how to waste our time.

And by waste, I mean spend. I do. We choose how to spend our time. We choose where to find joy. Personally, I, like many of you, do find a certain measure of joy in the well-crafted story, stunning visuals, and witty dialogue that is Game of Thrones. I also find joy in yoga, margaritas, talking to my friends, going to the gym, reading, and playing with my dog. And I spend my fair share of time on Facebook and random internet-y things, which I must find joyful, as well, or I wouldn’t bother.

Doing things that make you happy is never a waste of time.

And telling other people they’re wasting their time by playing a game is like me saying, “You’re wasting your time on every single thing you do that’s not yoga.”

Not only would I be condemning myself (since I spend at least a couple of hours every day doing things that are probably the opposite of yoga in some way), people would roll their eyes at me. Because that statement is silly. Not everyone likes yoga.

And not everyone hates Pokémon GO.

Let people like what they like.

And whether you like it or hate it (after you tried it yourself, right?), we can all give thanks for Pokémon GO. It has either given us an enjoyable new pastime, or it has shown us what we don’t want to do, and that’s an incredible tool for figuring out what it is we do want.

Besides, bad yogis everywhere should be finding a great deal of inspiration from Pokémon GO. Have you seen Seel’s scorpion or Totodile’s tree pose? Impressive.

Do you play Pokémon GO? Why or why not?

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16 Comments

  1. Megan Reddix

    Megan Reddix

    July 28, 2016 at 8:32 am

    I just had a conversation similar to this, but I’m on the other end. Sadly to say, I am not a profound supporter of Pokemon GO. What I do like about it is that people who may otherwise be spending their time inside on the couch (totally nothing wrong with that), are now outside and walking around (fresh air and exercise, yay!). My husband is only sort of into the game, but has been explaining to me how it is actually more than just walking around in random places just to find Pokemon. I love the twist you take on this, though! We all do what we’re going to do! Just let people enjoy how they spend their time, and you go ahead and enjoy what you do!

    1. Amanda Sides

      Amanda Sides

      July 28, 2016 at 11:26 am

      I get it….I don’t play either, and have no desire to! But like you, I like that people are out moving around and getting together with their friends. I’m not so much a supporter of the game itself as I am a supporter of letting people like what they like, a supporter of not needing to weigh in negatively in public (sometimes wildly negatively!) on every little thing that is outside that person’s realm of interest. 🙂

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    Brooklyn

    July 29, 2016 at 9:43 am

    I’m trying not to be too critical of the game, but I have to admit that I can’t understand why someone would go outside and then stare at a screen the whole time. I was at Clear Lake in Manitoba, Canada with a friend and we watched as nearly everyone around us walked with their head buried in their phone, not talking to the people around them or admiring the incredible beauty that is Clear Lake. As with anything, I guess I would just encourage moderation. This article is right: we all waste our time somehow, but we can still waste it wisely.

    1. Amanda

      Amanda

      July 30, 2016 at 9:03 am

      I agree, moderation is key. Overboard isn’t a good practice in anything — even yoga. 🙂 And I think it’s natural that because the game is new, some people might be going a little overboard. And there are some for whom that might stick, but I think overall it’ll die down a little bit as the new wears off. 🙂

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    kellyrose

    July 29, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I have been playing for a couple weeks (my husband got me into it) and I really like it. It can take you to fun places you might not go otherwise. It can help you get outside and explore when you’re feeling lazy. It gives you an excuse to go on a walk or run. It’s a break from the chaotic, confusing and often challenging world we live in. All or nothing is never good. It can’t be the only thing you’re doing but if you add it to the side it’s harmless.

    1. Amanda

      Amanda

      July 30, 2016 at 9:00 am

      Good point — there’s good in everything, especially when practiced mindfully and with moderation. And the fact that it provides a break from the chaos is a super bonus…we’re all so plugged in all the time, it’s good to find a way to disconnect from the madness, and there are far worse ways to do that than by playing a game! Have fun! 🙂

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    Nicki

    July 31, 2016 at 3:01 am

    I love walking and I don’t need a game to get me outside to do it. However, my kids do and now they are happy to go out walking with me everyday? We have learned cool things about our neighbourhood that we hadn’t known 10years living here, thanks to the little facts they post at Pokestops. You don’t actually need to walk around with your face buried in your phone as your phone will vibrate when a Pokemon, stop or gym is within range. What really amazes me about Pokemon Go though is how it spans generations. You see little kids playing it right through to 60 year olds. A bit like yoga really?

    1. Amanda

      Amanda

      July 31, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      That’s so cool! It’s crazy how long we can live in a place and not really know the place….learning more about the neighborhood is an amazing benefit.

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    Jenn

    July 31, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I work as a Crime Victim Advocate and a Yoga teacher. Pokemon Go showed up for me days after five Dallas Police Officers were killed, and several other emotionally charged events. I couldn’t continue to read every single article. Pokemon Go also showed up for me after weighing in at my heaviest weight. My husband also is a gamer and we play this game together while walking our dog. This game has helped me to get out of my house, off of social media and in my new Adidas. I have also lost five pounds. I have had to find new yoga stretches to stretch out my calves and quads from all of this walking. A new habit was formed and all weekend I actually left the phone at home and enjoyed nature which was the goal all along.

    1. Amanda

      Amanda

      July 31, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      That’s so great! I have heard so many positive stories like this about how much people are enjoying this game, and I love that part of it. I can’t understand why there are others who want to come down so hard on people for getting out and having fun! Keep it up. I haven’t tried the game and wasn’t really drawn to it, but I’m starting to get more and more interested. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story!

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    Kandi

    July 31, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    My husband and I both downloaded it just to see what it was about. Since then we have spent more time together than we have in months (partially because he travels for work then is busy on the farm when he is home)! My husband is fairly antisocial and he’s spent time talking to strangers we meet while out playing. I’m all for anything that encourages people to move and interact. Anytime we run into someone else who is playing it starts a conversation. He’s also talked to people while traveling who have seen a decrease in crime in their areas because there are more people around and that discourages the criminals. I’ve read stories about autistic children breaking their routines and socalizing due to the game. There is good and bad to everything, and not everyone is going to like the same things, but isn’t that what makes life interesting?

    1. Amanda Sides

      Amanda Sides

      August 1, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      So true! Our differences are what make it interesting, and there is room on this earth for all of these likes and dislikes. I love that I keep hearing so many stories of how it’s getting people to interact and connect with each other. I think right now, the world needs that more than just about anything. 🙂 And I’m so glad you’re getting some quality time with your husband!

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    Hannah

    July 31, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    My partner has severe anxiety and depression, yet since this has been out we’ve been out together every single day to catch pokemon and have coffee, so I’m all for it! There was even a Pokemon Go picnic arranged in town today for players, and it’s great to see both kids and adults talking to each other and actually doing something outside for once.

    1. Amanda Sides

      Amanda Sides

      August 1, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      That’s awesome! I want people to recognize that even when they don’t like a certain thing, there’s no reason to come down on it because someone else might be getting a lot of joy from it….and maybe even more than joy. Happy Poke-hunting. 🙂

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    Carolyn

    August 1, 2016 at 8:59 am

    I live in Baltimore, and I love PokemonGO! I see a lot of comments complaining about how people are missing the scenery by staring at their phones, but I’d like to make a counterpoint. The one thing GO players are not ignoring are each other. I’ve had more diverse human interaction while out playing this game in my city than ever before. I play a lot while walking my dog, and while normally I’d walk past others, possibly make small conversation with an other dog owner or give a nod to a passing runner, this game has led to conversations with people who would have previously politely walked by me without a word. I have had conversations with people of differing ages and backgrounds, even a group of young teens stopped to ask what team I was on 🙂 I found a Pikachu, and a stranger who just caught it waited around nervously in hopes that I’d be able to catch it too. We gave each other a high-five and shared in our amused excitement. Yesterday, I had two middle aged men stop and ask me if there were any Squirtles about, and we shared the characters we’d seen that day. Lastly, this game has led to more members of our neighborhood out and about, and in our parks lately; leading to a higher sense of safety for me, as a young female, when I’m out with the dog etc. In a city that has several major systemic problems and during the negative swirl that accompanies US elections (esp. this time around), it’s so nice to have something, even if it’s small, bringing us together.

  9. Amanda Sides

    Amanda Sides

    August 1, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    This is great. Connection is key in our world right now. When I wrote this article, I was Poke-neutral: I wasn’t drawn to it, but I saw no need to criticize it. Since then, I’ve heard so many positive Pokémon experiences….and it’s making me very PRO-Pokémon. I might even have to try it myself. 🙂

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