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Design for Wellbeing: Generative Visual Music for Anxiety Reduction Open Access Deposited

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Last modified: 03/01/2018

In societies where productivity is prioritized over presence, anxiety abounds. The extensive and alarming effects of anxiety on the mental and physiological wellbeing of bachelor students inspired a cross-disciplinary team to tackle this problem. Using combined expertise in visual design, music technology, psychology, art therapy and mindfulness — a digital tool entitled “Modes” was born. The Modes digital tool is an atmospheric, introspective, and aesthetically sophisticated engagement of three senses: ophthalmoception (sight), audioception (hearing), and tactioception (touch). Through immersive interaction, mesmerizing visual and sound landscapes are generated in order to reduce anxiety in bachelor students. The two measurable outcomes of Modes are 1) the reduction of self-reported anxiety in bachelor students, and 2) the reduction of bachelor student heart rates.

Interacting with the Modes digital tool is like playing in a sandbox of dynamic visuals and music. Users begin by selecting and entering one of three digital environments entitled Refocus, Chill, or Energize. Each environment (or mode) offers a unique set of visuals and music designed specifically for anxiety reduction. The design and functionality of Modes are rooted in tenets of mindfulness practice and Ayurveda — an ancient Indian healing system emphasizing inner balance as a method for maintaining health and wellness (Kiefer, 2016). The Refocus, Chill, and Energize modes aim to balance each of three governing principle of Ayurveda that regulate physiological activity. Ultimately, users may combat and control their anxiety in three targeted ways: by refocusing, chilling, or energizing.

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