Week 6 Explorations


Through my research of music, stress and therapy, I have found that rates of mental and physical illnesses are rising, with stress being a huge influence on this. Most of us experience some anxiety or stress everyday, which is good in moderate amounts. However sometimes it can become overwhelming and affect our day-to-day functioning. We can become so immersed in our everyday lives that we tend to keep going until we burnout.

Barlow and Durand theorize that learned helplessness is when people encounter conditions with which they have no control over. This may happen to people who are faced with uncontrollable stress in their lives. People then become depressed if they ‘decide’ or ‘think’ that they can do little about the stress.

Learned optimism is when people are faced with stress and difficulty in their lives, but still display an optimistic and upbeat attitude, meaning that they are likely to function better both psychologically and physically.

Barlow and Durand also state that our emotions and moods affect our cognitive processes. If your mood is positive, your associations, interpretations and impressions also tend to be positive.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – can help change how you think and what you do. It focuses on current problems and looks for ways to improve your state of mind now. Can help to break the vicious circle of altered thinking, feelings and behaviour, and find better ways of thinking about life’s events.

Behaviour Change – How communications can effectively encourage positive behaviour change in citizens. People need to play an active role in the change process and make positive changes to their lifestyle in order to improve long-term health. To encourage positive motivation, people need a trigger as well as a motivation to change.

So where does music come into this?
From my survey, I found that nearly 100% of the respondents used music as a way to relax and relieve stress so I wanted to develop this more.

Scientific research shows music can have a profound influence on your physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. This is because music affects every part of the brain. Long-term, music can increase our ability to adapt to stress and allow a new way of thinking. It can reprogram your brain to react differently to personal life stressors, changing your response to situations.

There are two ways of dealing with stress. Either in a negative, or a positive way. The most important factor is how you cope with it. Music can’t take away life’s challenges, but it can change the way we respond to them. Research shows people who combine music with a healthy diet and exercise on a consistent basis can achieve even greater results in balancing wellness.

I want to explore how to enable people to respond in a positive way to stress, what role music can play in this, and how to integrate stress-reducing behaviours into daily life.

  • Struggling with incorporating music into it – I know how it is beneficial as a coping mechanism for stress but don’t know how to explore this through design
  • Don’t have a defined target audience – could be students, young people, working population
  • Could look at positivity – one aspect of responding to stress
  • Music can be personalized to your tastes/situation
  • Stigma in our society that people who are unable to cope with stress, anxiety or depression are weak. There is a perception that asking for help implies weakness. This introduces a challenge to change societal attitudes surrounding disorders to make it more open to conversation.

G. Mindlin, D, Durousseau and J Cardillo. (Psychiatry professor, Cognitive Neuroscientist and a psychology author. (Your playlist can change your life.)


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