It has long become a norm in a collaborative design environment that people accept the remanence of high anxiety level during the working process. People believe that anxious feeling during deadlines, heavy working load, intense team communication, critiques, arguments are daily norms, just like Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, who suffered deeply from anxiety, wrote this in his diary: “My fear of life is necessary to me, as is my illness. They are indistinguishable from me, and their destruction would destroy my art.”
Audience: Students in creative and collaborative fields who potentially in the state of hypomania
People who suffer from emotional dysregulation would react in aggressive behavior even with relatively mild negative events; they may cry, scream, accuse or blame those around them, engage in passive-aggressive behaviors or any other behaviors that disrupt relationships and can escalate conflict. Unhealthy emotion might even result in more severe mental problem like bipolar disorder.
For creative and collaborative fields, people’s anxiety broadly impacts on interpersonal communication, collaboration efficiency, balance social atmosphere in organizations, relationship, and many other social psychological aspects.
An online survey with 60 students from Harvard University Graduate School of design is conducted during finals week based on the Generalized Anxiety Disorder[GAD] Questionnaire  with additional questions about daily life and design habitats.
The survey indicated that students tend to be stuck in a negative emotion regulation strategy with reduction of productivity under stress. The top three methodologies they choose to release stress are food consumption, watching videos, and excessive social media use. The phone average screen time at 6 hours per day occupies 32.4% of their time awake, which is longer than their sleeping hours. According to the survey, 79% of students find it very difficult to control the worries of the top-ranked anxiety cause, the quality of design, review, and paper. This phenomenon could also result in a decrease of psychological safety and accountability in collaborative working fields, which leads other colleagues into a negative emotion cycle like unwanted thought, risky behavior, low action and so on.
Main Cause of Anxiety based on target audience analysis
Side issue related to current problem
The collaborative working anxiety in creative fields seems unavoidable due to massive project load, unpredictable schedule, team dysfunction, and many complex issues. Are design students all accepting the anxiety and unhealthy lifestyle? How can we help students who suffer from high stress and anxiety or potentially in the state of developing hypomania, bipolar disorder, depression, and other related mental problems?
DBT Therapy: Emotion Regulation Questionnaire; Intrapersonal Emotion Regulation Questionnaire
Emotion Monitoring Devices: mobile monitoring app, wearable devices
There are many current available emotion regulation practices. Schema therapy (ST) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are effective treatments in emotion regulation. With these treatments, people can identify and change negative thinking patterns to positive behavioral changes. However, design students mostly have no time for treatment at the most stressful time, finals week. The passive attitude toward examining wellness is also a concern. There are also many emotion monitoring devices that are well designed for self-check; however, they still do not indeed affect the emotion regulation cycle while they remain as an information provider.
For creative and intentional working atmosphere, It is very common to have negative physical sensation such as dizzy, stomach cramping, joint pain, this sensation information are always in parallel to all-night-working, project critiques, presentations as they are both bio-medically tired as well as mentally tired. Methodologies to break into the unwanted linking between physical uncomfortness and mental stages could enhance emotion regulation process.
Methodologies that provides evidence of successful “self-report” in a way that emotional facts are transferred into acceptance with positive refocusing are also very effective.
There are many other side benefits besides a positive emotion regulation for individuals, methodologies that inform physical comfort data as well as positive refocusing in a short time, a subtle interface can improve the production efficiency in teamwork by increasing everyone’s psychological safety and accountability during collaboration. A reduction of the anxious atmosphere could also help with the effectiveness of interpersonal listening, relationships, and personal life satisfaction.
Emotions are not built-in to people’s brain. Human has far more control of their emotion than in their thoughts. [How Emotions are Made 5] The human brain process emotion as “guesses,” which is based on what it is most like in past experiences. If the blindness toward abilities to regulate anxiety can be enhanced for daily activities and communication in a teamwork-based environment, the overall atmosphere and efficiency of working can be improved from a macro view. It is unnoticeable that everyone conducts their emotion regulation in daily life.
Everyday examples of regulating your own emotions:
Everyday examples of regulating someone else’s emotions:
Unhealthy activities that may seem like they help, but actually hurt:
Acceptance, avoidance, problem-solving, reappraisal, rumination, and suppression are possible directions for cognitive emotion regulation.  Reappraisal strategy, as one of the adaptive strategies, can be applied for students in the creative field successfully. 
Based on the fundamental goal to be more productive for deadline fighters, the development of daily positive reappraisal strategy for self-awareness of negative emotions with bio-metric conditions might be sufficient. Under this network, students can self-remind to get-up for coffee, take a second break or switch tasks.
As it is illustrated in the diagram[Fig. 1], user’s emotional state as well as behavior is highly related to environmental experience where the user first select and encoded the event happening around, and then assess the event in deep-acting process for appraisal, after that user will enter into surface acting phase to respond to the event. The initial concept discussed augmented experience to interrupt the user’s deep-acting process, where engages the user to refocusing, self-catching or accepting the event before a negative surface acting. As illustrated in the diagram[Fig. 2], the interface will enhance the user to engage in positive reappraisal for emotion regulation. In the cycle, the user’s emotion and action from deep-acting to surface acting can be retarded before the user entered the suppression state.
>>>Provide user the real-time bio-metric data in altered perception can enable “self-caught strategy”to enhance emotion self-regulation,necessary to avoid emotion negative loop
Design Schematics: Bio-metric Data Collector
Design Schematics: Adaptive Sensor Network
Ideation A: sensor wearable to
change the feeling of temperature/the hearing experience/the visionary experience
Ideation B: use VR/AR methodology (or mechanical structure in eye wearable) to
distort the perspective (wider volume)of interior space or change the color tone/hue/lighting quality of the space
Ideation C: apply gentle cues that influence sensory
generate touch feelings of adaptive temperature on to skin; generate social escape micro climate (smoke); generate sound
Final Ideation: Drawing Squeeze
The final design of the interface contains two parts, the stress monitoring system and the squeeze object. The concept of the Drawing Squeeze focuses on changing the visual experience during the individual working session, especially late-night hard time. User will wear a bio-metric data collector in the form of wearable or jewelry; in the prototype, it is in the form of three-finger gloves. [Fig. 3] There is a flurry squeeze toy connected to the data collector. Bio-metric data like heart rate, electrodermal activity, will be collected. While the system detects an increase of anxiety related data, a subtle visual representation of altered bio-metric data will be displayed on the squeeze toy. [Fig. 4]
Thus, the user would successfully benefit from refocusing from stressful drawing tasks to the fun interaction with squeezing and viewing the visual. It is also the user’s choice to interact or not, to get up and have a rest or not, which put the emotion regulation experience at a subtle and non-dominant point.
Under the concept of positive reappraisal, a squeeze toy can be effective for students in the creative field for emotion regulation, and a squeeze toy to match false bio-metric data can reduce stress level more efficiently compared to analogy squeeze toy.
The prototype implementation of the interface contains two parts, the stress monitoring system, and the squeezed object. The bio-metric data from the pulse sensor is processed with hierarchical delay to provide false led blinking feedback of the user’s heartbeat. Users are encouraged to match the squeezing behavior to blinking rate potentially.
The monitoring system could detect and record real-time stress and anxiety level with two data steam from Grove GSR sensor[Fig. 5] and Pulse Sensor[Fig. 6]. The GSR sensor measures Human Resistance = ((1024+2*Serial_Port_Reading)*10000)/(512-Serial_Port_Reading), unit is ohm, Serial_Port_Reading is the value display on Serial Port(between 0~1023). Strong emotions can cause stimulus to human’s sympathetic nervous system, resulting more sweat being secreted by the sweat glands. 
The squeeze object is an ellipsoid shape plush toy. The toy has fury texture similar to soothing toy for infants. Inside the toy, two LEDs are placed at two end side of the ellipsoid, one of the LED relates to the pulse sensor; one relates to GSR sensor.
If the system detected stimulus of the user’s nervous system, the GSR LED would turn from blue(cooler) to pink(warmer) for 20 milliseconds, at the same time the pulse sensor LED will start blinking from pink to bright pink at rate for altered heartbeat feedback as mapped in the table [Table 1]. The square force sensor resistor is placed in the center of the toy surrounded by cotton. The feeling of squeezing the toy is puffy and bouncy.
Table 1: Every ten measurements of GSR value are taken and averaged into value = Avgsr to avoid glitchy data noise. The Avgsr value is then mapped at gsrN = map (Avgsr, 400, 500, 255, 0), to get suitable value for LED color blinking. The output LED color is at Color (R, G, B) where R, G, B = (gsrN,124,181) to get the desired pink blinking.
The data from GSR sensor is display as the hue property of led color. If the system detected stimulus of user’s nervous system, the GSR led will turn to warmer color for 20 milliseconds, at the same time the pulse sensor led will start blinking for altered heartbeat feedback. Users are encouraged to squeeze the toy at the blinking rate. [Fig 5 - 9]
Digital Modeling Task
Three participants joined the three-day experiments with a total of 18 tests. The testing aim at examine participants’ stress level. Participants were asked to model as many Breps as possible in Rhino3d in 3 min. A timer on mobile phone is set to 3 min countdown and placed beside participants’ laptop. When participant arrived, she was asked to sit for 1 min for calm down to minimize data noises due to activity prior to the experiment.
GroupD0 [control group] on day 1
Stressful/Soothing Video Trail: Participants were asked to watch a stressful video on YouTube for 1 min and then soothing video for 1 min wear the stress monitoring system. [Used stressful and soothing Videos: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv_79-p6SPM; www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIJRcnjZEe0]
GroupD1[control group] on day 2
Test no.01-no.02 for A and reversed order(02, 01) for B: Participants were asked to wear the stress monitoring system to do the digital drawing task for 3 min and wait for 1 min, rest, do drawing task again for 3 min and playing the analog version squeeze toy for 1 min.
GroupD2[control group] on day 3
Test no.04 for A / Test no.01 for B: drawing task for 3 min and watching the soothing video for 1 min.
GroupD3[contract group] on day 3
Test no.01-no.03 for A / Test no.02-no.04 for B: drawing task for 3 min and playing the squeeze toy for 1 min.
Table 2: GSR value results where: Group D0, control, Stressful Video 2min + Soothing Video 2min; Group D1, control, Modeling Task 3min + Waiting 1min and Modeling Task 3min + Analog Squeeze Toy 1min; Group D2, control, Modeling Task 3min + Soothing Video 1min; Group D3, contract, Modeling Task 3min + Squeeze Toy with Pulse Feedback 1min
Human Resistance = ((1024+2*Serial_Port_Reading)*10000)/(512-Serial_Port_Reading), unit is ohm, Serial_Port_Reading is the value display on Serial Port(between 0~1023). 
The result value [Fig. 5][Fig. 6][Table 2] of the human resistance change and heart rate change suggest that the soothing video is very effective for reducing anxiety. The analogy squeezing toy can reduce stress like soothing video, which lies parallel to the hypothesis, squeezing toy with pulse data feedback increased 70% of an analogy squeezing toy’s soothing performance. However, due to the limited sample size, possible inaccuracy of sensors, other data noises due to testing procedures. These results are not very informative, but still suggesting worthy for future testing and similar research directions.
Sara Taylor states a practical methodology to motivate daily dairy compliance with an in-game rewards app on a smartphone. This methodology provides evidence of successful “self-report” in a way that emotional facts are transferred into acceptance with positive refocusing. Both the negative and positive emotions are documented in a balanced and parallel way into just questionnaire answers while at the same time trading into pleasant awards. The in-game rewards methodology provides a significant 8.5% higher compliance compare to traditional electronic based methods and 15% higher than paper-based methods. The Q Sensor, E4, Embrace from Affective Computing, are also related works, which store or transmit a wearer’s stress levels throughout the day, giving doctors, caregivers, and patients themselves a new tool for observing reactions. The Q Sensor measures skin conductance, temperature, motion and more to record a wearer’s reactions to events. 
Concerning testing and data processing, the accuracy of the used GSR sensor and the pulse sensor is not tested yet for normalizing changes in the prototype testing. The relativity of human resistance value and stress level can be calibrated better based on raw data string. Besides, the sample size might be not big enough to prove the hypothesis. The current testing procedure when user is always doing stressful tasks first and then soothing might have data noises, which can be updated into stressful task+soothing+stressful. The time at 4 min for each testing might be revealing only short-term results, a longer hour monitoring like overnight could be helpful.
The design of the interface has a lot of future potentials. The squeeze toy can be put into the daily product instead just a toy, for example, a key chain, other mobile wearable, or desk friendly product like a lamp, clock, things on the floor. The monitoring part, which is finger glove right now, can be improved as designers using a laptop, would rather have no distraction on the finger. The monitoring part can be neck jewelry, bracelet, other forms of light wearable. Wearable devices related to engaging health awareness and self-examination can be effective for future design decisions for highly user-centered solutions for health consumers.
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