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A Multisensory Room For Fighting Depression?

Written on . Posted in ADHD, Sensory Diet, Sensory Processing Disorder, Sensory Room

It's all the rave these days - how to be happy. Seems quite simple, right? Just be happy. But it's not, and if you just take a peek at the news, with depression on the rise, not only will you find plenty of unhappy people, but it may seem almost impossible to reach that joyful state that we all long to feel. So, how can a multisensory room help fight depression? Let's first look at the causes.

Why So Much Depression?

Well, that is a loaded question and more than we can tackle in a blog post, but let's just say that depression presents itself as a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood, or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe - none of which should be taken lightly. A depressed individual who has tools and practices to minimize or offset their depression can experience higher levels of resilience than someone who hits rock bottom and tries to find their way back up.

Let's Flip The Coin and Look At Happiness...

Happiness is used to describe mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions. It is also used to describe life satisfaction or well-being.  Basically, happiness is subjective and can be noted when we feel that we are doing well, thriving, reaching, and are just generally satisfied.

When people are happy, brain chemicals have a lot to do with it (eg. serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin).  The secretion of these chemicals in depressed people is generally found to be lower.

So, what might make us happy or help to minimize depression by increasing the secretion of these chemicals? Well, that depends on the individual, but we can say that there are some activities that can pretty consistently raise endorphins, such as exercise, meditation, creative outlets, music, nature, time with friends, spiritual practice, and living among family or in a community. And, finally, we would like to pose that perhaps time spent in a multisensory room may do just the same. And here's why...

Visual Appeal is High

A multisensory room will, at first sight, stimulate the eyes. Who doesn't feel happy when they see something beautiful? But it's more than sight - the lighting has been selected to be easy on the eyes and to encourage visual processing. For example, when we play with a ball or use eye-hand coordination, it actually creates a focused calm in the mind. So, we feel quite comfortable suggesting that the beautiful lights and sights in a sensory room can create a state of inner joy.

Sound and Vibration Are At Their Best

Our inner ear works through a complex system that relies on vibration. In other words, vibration is at the center of our ability to hear. And the sound, depending on its quality, tone, pitch, frequency, and method can produce a variety of emotions, memories, thoughts, or feelings. A sensory room can provide sound tools as well as a room where sound can enhance the entire experience. Though we suggest sound used at lower vibrations, you can choose your method and style of sound to provide the experience desired. Vibration alone can also be used. The theory is that the vibrating signals are transferred into tissues, tendons, and muscles, which can relax the body.

Focus and Attention Bring Pleasure and Not Pain

A multisensory room has been known to help improve focus, concentration, and attention. The theory is that by removing extraneous sensory information and replacing it with controlled environmental stimulation with selected equipment, the individual in need can practice focusing in a nonthreatening, non-demanding atmosphere, where focus brings pleasure and not pain. A bubble tube, for example, can be quite mesmerizing and images cast on the walls can be appealing. It's your room, so you choose, but consistent multisensory room time can be more akin to recess. This is a different way of thinking but similar to art or music.  Multisensory room time can help stimulate the brain waves that are best for your environment.

The Multisensory Room is a Happy Place

We hear this time and time again. It's hard to exactly explain, but people just feel calm, at peace, and happy in a multisensory room. What's even better is that it seems to transfer back to the classroom, workspace, or home. We like to think of it as "a day at the beach." So, using the room at regular intervals may be another tool to help minimize depression, raise endorphin levels, top up your happy cup, and allow you to do what you do best!

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