Are you living in a state of creative numbness? Do you feel your mental wellness being sapped? Many of us now live our lives without needing to engage our primal senses which just a few decades ago we were using on a daily basis (things like watching out for danger and observing the behavior of others). Using these senses is thought to help boost our mental health and wellbeing.

This stat sounds tremendously high but if I think about my life – I am very active and I’d say I rarely spend more than 10% of my day outdoors – that’s just 2.4 hours a day!

As recently as only 50 to 100 years ago we spent far more time outside. Without the escapism of modern technology, we were experiencing the world without any distractions. We were seeing, smelling, hearing and reacting to things constantly, which naturally kept our senses stimulated. Modern city living has changed this.

All this time in artificial light and artificial air can be a major cause of creative or mental-wellness blockages. Actively stimulating our senses is now seen as a way of combating this to boost our mental creativity and improving our mental health/well-being.

A multi-sensory what?

Nature is the real-world’s multi-sensory experience but those of us who live in the city might not have easy access to green spaces or the great outdoors. If you are feeling in a bit of a creative slump, and don’t have easy regular access to nature, then a multi-sensory workout could be the next best thing. When done correctly, the effect can be hugely profound.

People sit crossed-legged on yoga mats in a beautiful church with a live orchestra playing music. Wellness, Gameplan A.
We often arrange Sweat & Sound experiences in churches because they are some of the least used, but most beautiful and heart-opening spaces in cities. ©Sweat & Sound
A beautiful church is filled with rows of people doing yoga on mats, accompanied by a live orchestra. Wellness, Gameplan A.
Our experiences are non-religious, but the churches we work with welcome the opportunity to allow all people to enjoy their spaces and experience the beauty, peace and quiet. ©Sweat & Sound
In a beautiful church a cascade of green vines hangs in front of an ornate font, whilst people do yoga in the background. Wellnerss, Gameplan A.
This is the perfect way for a thoughtfully designed space to fulfil its purpose: people leave feeling refreshed and inspired. ©Sweat & Sound
01 of

What is the importance of stimulating our senses?

When we enter a new space, our brain is overloaded with information. What sounds can I hear? What does the space look like? Can I smell anything? Is it hot, cold, dry, humid? Our brain then asks – do I need to adjust myself at all in order to feel more comfortable? If it’s dark my pupils dilate, if it’s hot my heart rate lowers, and so on.

The practice of stimulating the senses using space, sound, spoken word, and smells dates back millennia and provides some of the most basic tools for affecting social gatherings. If you have ever witnessed a service in an ancient European cathedral then you will know what I mean.

I’m in. How do I get started?

The key to a good multi-sensory workout experience is to stimulate as many of your senses as possible at the same time. We try and fit all of the below into every Sweat & Sound workout:

Sound

Live music (as opposed to recorded music) changes the structure of our brain’s synapses and helps with community cohesion – this is why many social groups are formed around music preference.

Smell

Smell can be directly linked to our primal instincts or ‘gut feelings’, due to its ability to generate feelings of nostalgia and/or very old memories.

Space and layout

This has one of the strongest abilities to stir emotional response, therefore is one of the most crucial to get right. Space syntax (behavioral psychology through spatial design) argues that the most fundamental impact on a community is the spatial design of their surroundings. Research has even proven the link between space syntax and anti-social behavior.

An athletic looking man on a sandy beach pulls a yoga pose on all-fours, surrounded by other people doing yoga. Wellness, Gameplan A.
Space has one of the strongest abilities to stir emotional response. ©Sweat & Sound
Young people do yoga on a beach surrounded by beach huts and palm trees. Wellness, Gameplan A. beach
Even in the middle of a city we manage to create synergies of space, sound, scent, words, and beauty that engage people emotionally. ©Sweat & Sound
Four young women sit and laugh together on a beach. Wellness, Gameplan A.
We try to create a spaces for people to be part of a like-minded community ©Sweat & Sound
01 of

Visual cues and art

These are humanity’s most popular sensory stimulant, with visions of beauty having proven to have a positive effect on our state of well-being, namely reducing depression and anxiety.

Imagination

A key sense which we at Sweat & Sound are adamant to include in all experiences. Actively using the imagination can increase feelings of curiosity, happiness and overall interest in life’s activities. Research even suggests a strong link between art and imagination with delaying dementia.

Movement (the workout part)

A sense that brings all of the above into motion… literally! Repetitive movement has and is still used by many ancient practices and religions as a way to intensify feelings of connectedness. The science is simple: increasing blood flow means our sensory receptors are heightened, meaning we absorb sound frequencies better, see clearer, think clearer and can better connect each sensory reaction into our web of emotive pleasure.

A group of young adults dance with their hands above their heads. Wellness, Gameplan A.
Increasing blood flow by 'throwing some shapes' means our sensory receptors are heightened. ©Sweat & Sound
A woman dressed in retro 80s fitness clothes dances with her hands in the air. Wellness, Gameplan A.
Music. Movement. Visual cues. You have yourself a multi-sensory experience. ©Sweat & Sound
A forest of bare arms fill the screen as people workout to music bunched close together. Wellness, Gameplan A.
Repetitive movement is still used by many ancient practices as a way to intensify feelings of connectedness. ©Sweat & Sound
01 of

At Sweat and Sound we believe that mental wellness and creativity can be hugely improved through multi-sensory experiences, whether out in nature or in the city.

Want to try one out for yourself? Sign up here to get on the list for upcoming invites in London and NYC.

1 COMMENT

Please take note of the commenting guidelines.
You will receive an email to approve your comment.
Please take note of the commenting guidelines.
You will receive an email to approve your comment.

Thanks for your comment

You will receive an email to approve your comment. It will only appear after your confirmation.

Okay

Oh no! An unexpected error occurred.

Try again
by Frank 30.08.2019
Love the concept.
Reply