Adarabella Designs aims to provoke positive conversation around mental health, inform people about the relationship between the physical body and anxiety, while encouraging them to incorporate therapeutic healing practices, and inspiring individuals to share their story and remind them that they are not alone in their journey!
What is Discursive Design?
Define Discursive Design
Discursive design is a means through which ideas of psychological, sociological, and ideological import are embodied in, or deliberately engendered through, artifacts. The ideas (discourses) are capable of sustaining a complex of competing perspectives and values with the immediate goal of having audiences to reflect upon them. Rather than discourse about design, or discourse for design, it is understood as a form of discourse through design. (Bruce & Stephanie Tharp, www.discursivedesign.com)
5 Key Elements: Inform - Inspire - Persuade - Provoke - Remind
Designs within this field tend to have some combination or a total of the five key element. Discursive Design is used as a thought catalyst to target the intellect and make the user think about the ideologically, socially and psychologically charged topics through the dissemination of these speculative and critically designed products and is substantive enough to support a complex of competing perspectives and values. (www.discursivedesign.com)
Communication, Social Engagement & Anthropological Gaze
Communication is the goal and measure of success, rather than modes of practical application, but with the intention to bring awareness and reflection through conversation regarding social consequence. The importance of the audience is to build a relationship and sense of responsibility through Anthropological Gaze based on sociocultural values - what does it mean or say about the society that created this? - or in Adarabella Designs case - what does it say about the society that has created a need for on-the-go mental health aids? (www.discursivedesign.com)
Why Mental Health?
Mental Health Epidemic
1 in 5 adult experience mental illness within a given year, and 18.1% of adults have an anxiety disorder (NAMI). On top if that, 7.7 Million Americans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (NAMI). This shows that there is a serious mental health epidemic. What is not clear is why we are still afraid to talk about it, and why we still aren't doing anything about it as a society. Adarabella aims to bring awareness about the physical side of mental health and the everyday necessity for a product like this since symptoms of anxiety and trauma are unavoidable and unstoppable without proper coping mechanisms. It is also intended to empower those with mental health conditions to accept themselves and work towards healing, and gaining self control as well as confidence.
The relationship between the Body & Anxiety
These products are designed based on researching the relationship between the body and anxiety; specifically where trauma is retained in the body and how anxiety is experienced physically.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many “common anxiety signs and symptoms including;
feeling nervous, restless or tense, having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom, having an increased heart rate, breathing rapidly (hyperventilation), sweating, trembling, feeling weak or tired, trouble Concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry, having trouble sleeping, experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems, having difficulty controlling worry, having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety” (mayoclinic).
This shows that anxiety is not just in the mind but experienced through out the body, and that those symptoms need to be treated just a much as the medical health issues. The symptoms are important to note in order to understand what needs to be addressed.
De-stigmatize the Conversation around Mental Health
Adarabella aims to reduce negative stigma surrounding mental illness, and provide a way for people to own their mental health by encouraging self awareness and self care. The discursive design, and use of jewelry as a statement piece, will allow for the products to provoke conversation surrounding mental health.
What type of Healing Practices?
Mindfullness, Coping & Tracking
Mindfulness, coping exercises & tracking triggers are elements from psychology that can help an individual to develop self-care and self-awareness to aid them better understand and live with their mental health.
Grounding is a therapeutic coping technique that uses the five senses: sound , sight, scent, touch and taste to calm someone when they are anxious or triggered. Another way to think about it would be that the stimulus of any of the five senses can distract someone who is overwhelmed and help them to concentrate of a more comforting experience. Grounding is a technique that helps keep someone in the present. Grounding aims to reorient a person to the here-and-now and be in the moment. Grounding skills can be helpful in managing triggers, overwhelming feelings or intense anxiety. They help someone to regain their mental focus from an often intense emotional state.
Grounding can be achieved by reaching out and interacting with the world around you. While every object expresses at least one sensory element, there can be challenges as well. Everyone experiences are different, and if you take something like music, for example, many people have emotional ties to music, and those are often paired with specific memories. The same song, or sensory element, can have very different emotional ties for people, for some it could be reminders of an old friend or of a place, while for others it could be a triggering reminder of a traumatic experience.
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is another practice of psychology, it “is a method that integrates sensorimotor processing with cognitive and emotional processing in the treatment of trauma” (Ogden, PhD, and Minton, PhD.). This theory considers the body “as a primary entry point in processing trauma,” particularly when it comes to dissociative states or different modes of the fight-or-flight response and additional Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms.(Ogden, PhD, and Minton, PhD) Fight or Flight response is activated by the autonomic nervous system responding to threat and reacting with fighting the threat, fleeing from it, or rendering utterly frozen in the moment action-less.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
In addition, there is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which “focuses on exploring relationships among a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors” in order to “uncover unhealthy patterns of thought and how they may be causing self-destructive behaviors and beliefs(NAMI). By going though those processes it can help someone to pin point their actions and triggers in order to have better idea of how to manage them. Psychological practices such as these and sensory grounding can be relevant when designing a product, especially when it comes to what motivates the user to engage with the product, and how the materials and form can influence the interaction.
There are numerous styles of breathing practices ranging from 4-7-8 pattern, to box breathing, the wimhof method and more dating way back in history and integrated into many spiritual and religious practices to instill a healing calming presences, there are many benefits of breathwork ranging from:
- Reducing stress levels in your body
- Lowering your heart rate
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Improving muscular healing and stability
- Reducing depression, anxiety and PTSD symptoms
- Better management of chronic pain
- Better regulation of your body's reaction to stress and fatigue
- & more!
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis.
Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain. (Mindful.org)
Meditation is exploring. It’s not a fixed destination. Your head doesn’t become vacuumed free of thought, utterly undistracted. It’s a special place where each and every moment is momentous. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: our sensations (air blowing on our skin or a harsh smell wafting into the room), our emotions (love this, hate that, crave this, loathe that) and thoughts (wouldn’t it be weird to see an elephant playing a trumpet).
Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others. (Mindful.org)
Acupressure & Tapping
Long known for its ability to alleviate physical pain, the ancient healing art of acupressure also relieves stress and emotional pain. from day-to-day pressures to life's most significant trials, traumatic events cause the body to shut down and keep negative feelings "stuck," resulting in physical ailments and emotional imbalances. Acupressure - which use tools or the fingers to stimulate the same points targeted in acupuncture - release this muscular tension and restores the flow of vital energy, making resolution possible.
Acupressure reaches to the core many of the emotional disorders and stress-related physical problems that typify our contemporary world. By freeing unresolved emotional experiences stored in the body, acupressure can alleviate a wide range of everyday aches and pains, allergies, poor circulation, sleeplessness, and other chronic complaints. It can even unveil the memory of a traumatic experience that caused an emotional wound.
Acupressure relaxes the tight muscles that result from an emotional trauma. A traumatic event causes the body to contract its muscles and harden, like protective armor, to shield the inner self. This tension prevents energy from circulating freely in your body. As a result, your body may overreact and shut down, causing various physical ailments and emotional imbalance.
The art of acupressure utilizes the sensitivity of the human hand or tools to release endorphins, your body's natural pain-relieving chemicals. These neurochemicals are released by your pituitary gland and get distributed through the cerebrospinal fluid into the bloodstream. Simply holding certain points with steady, firm pressure for a few minutes will release these pain-relief agents. We believe that endorphins also play an important role in cultivating both physical and emotional healing. (Gach & Henning, Acupressure for Emotional Healing)