School Alleviates Stress Instead of Causing It…For Once

  by  |  November 3rd, 2008  |  Published in All, Blog

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It’s only 1:30 in the afternoon, and already I have managed to sleep through my alarm, lock myself out the house, and forget that my ID is nestled somewhere in the depths of my gym bag instead of in my wallet. (Not to mention the fact that I should have had this post done before today, too.) I’m tired, I’m hungry, and I’m stressed.

Good thing psychology professor Richard Wiseman has created just the thing for me. On October 21, he unveiled what is being called “the world’s most relaxing room” at the University of Hertfordshire’s Health and Human Sciences Research Institute Showcase.

Image courtesy University of Hertfordshire

The room allows groups of ten visitors at a time to take advantage of the space’s calming, lavender-scented pillows and artificial clear blue sky. But this isn’t some zen-themed massage parlor-wannabe; this is chilling out backed by science.

The soft green light that fills the room has been shown to enhance dopamine production in the brain, which soothes stress and anxiety. That perfect blue sky provides a backdrop that encourages inward contemplation and draws focus away from daily stressors; the effect is similar to that of sensory deprivation, only much milder. The cushioned floor of the room encourages visitors to lay back with their heads nestled on pillows, and stare into the “sky.”

As if that weren’t enough to get the most strung-out stress junkie soothed, Wiseman called upon the university’s professor of music, Tim Blinko, to compose a special soundtrack to play in the room. It combines low frequency notes with a slow tempo for background, and uses a solo soprano voice with string instruments and a Tibetan singing bowl to achieve that mellow, meditating effect.

Past studies have found each of these components to help reduce stress levels, but this is the first time all have been used in the same setting at the same time.

The relaxation room isn’t Wiseman’s first foray into stress; a few years ago, he led an international study that measured walking speeds around the world. He found that people are living more fast-paced and stressful lives than ever and those findings motivated him to build this room. Wiseman hopes that the showcase will motivate schools and businesses to take action in fighting stress.

And with the agitation that seems to be rampant thanks to the current presidential election, there’s no time like the present.

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  1. rypitch says:

    November 3rd, 2008 at 10:02 am (#)

    I want a “relax room” to open across the street.

  2. Mediamama says:

    November 3rd, 2008 at 11:03 am (#)

    For kids with sensory integration problems, there are entire catalogues dedicated to stress reduction. Swings, chew toys, and things that hug you figure prominently.

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    November 6th, 2012 at 2:09 pm (#)

    I read this great book called “The Nature of Life” by Anton Glotser, its packed with useful information on how to deal with stress and other issues and all of the techniques worked great for me. I got it on this website but my friend got his on a reading app on his phone.

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    School Alleviates Stress Instead of Causing It…For Once | ScienCentral | Science Videos | Science News :: ScienCentral | Science Videos | Science News

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