Flow: Stress Relief
SVA IXD / Interaction Design / 2013
Problem Many people these days are living with too much stress.
Solution Designed a few devices that help soothe one's stress by encouraging simple mindless activities.
Being stressed takes its toll on the physical and emotional condition of the human body. When energy is expended on coping with stressors, people are more likely to contract illness. Firstly, physiological responses to anxiety deplete the body’s energy which has a negative effect on the immune system. Secondly, stress makes it harder for people to sleep properly, also making them more susceptible to sickness. Thirdly, heightened stress is linked to heart disease and heart failure. These issues create cyclical patterns of stress: Loss of sleep creates more stress as the person lays in bed worrying, which in turn makes them less able to fall asleep. There are different types of stress such as depression and anxiety, and those who suffer from these problems have trouble focusing on daily tasks.
When participating in challenging tasks it is necessary to devote complete concentration, which is often considered as flow. Flow is a psychological state where a person is completely immersed in their work or activity, and is not influenced by outside factors. Creative thinkers need to devote undivided focus to their projects, as it will make the product more effective and also more enjoyable for them. Playing sports and video games also require the participants to be in a state of flow. Part of the reason why video games are so compelling is that they combine the challenge of finishing missions while simultaneously rewarding the user. We see a graphical, and audible smart object as a good intervention point for helping people with stress and achieving a state of flow.
Our project is designed to be a simple, yet immersive user experience that will help alleviate stress, and increase concentration. We avoided forms that are commonly used in consumer electronics as a way for the user to have a more tactile, personable experience with the object. It is our intention to create a smart object that can alleviate stress without the user focusing on that as the specific goal of the interaction. Our smart object is a tool that allows for people to interact with sound and imagery, making it a more synesthetic experience that will increase focus. We want to stimulate a flow type of experience, where the user gets totally immersed in interacting with the object, which will relieve their stress.
Team Member Clay Kippen
Flow User Video
Process - Bodystorming