How can wellness design affect mental health?

When we feel physically well, we are far more likely to feel mentally well. As the Mental Health Foundation states “Nearly one in three people with a long-term physical health condition also has a mental health problem, most often depression or anxiety.” The correlation between physical fitness and mental fitness is clear, which is why wellness is so important for mental health.

We know that staying active, to the best of our abilities, is good for us. But what else impacts our wellness? How do external factors play a part in making sure we’re living our best lives?

Why is wellness important for mental health?

Being ‘well’ is more than just not suffering from a mental illness. It’s a sense of overall wellbeing and being free to enjoy life. Of course, it would be naive to say that we can all breeze through life without a worry in the world, but wellness is important for mental health because it means we are more present in our lives, in our relationships, and yes, in our careers too.

There are a number of things that affect our mental health: our environment, our diet, our physical fitness, our history, and our genetics. And whilst there’s not an awful lot we can do about the traits handed down to us by our parents, things like where we live, work, exercise and socialise can have a positive effect on our wellbeing.

Take design, for example. It stands to reason that the more comfortable we are in our physical surroundings, the better we’ll feel.

How does wellness design affect mental health?

When our physical environment is cluttered, busy, chaotic, messy, loud, or dirty – you get the picture – it doesn’t make us feel good. It’s stressful and rather than letting us unwind from whatever is playing on our minds, it can have the opposite effect and exacerbate issues and worries.

Gyms and spas that place an emphasis on design to improve client experience are taking the correlation between wellness and mental health seriously. They know why wellbeing is important for mental health and they tailor their offering accordingly.

For example, natural materials and the use of water help to create a space that feels calming, while even the very act of moving around a well-designed gym or spa and experiencing its different areas, stations, spaces or zones can have a positive effect on wellbeing.

This is because it gives us a sense of purpose. Of being there and doing something that we know is benefiting us, both physically and therefore mentally.

Examples of how gym and spa design can benefit mental health

Design is vital when it comes to the guest experience. Meditation room design, infrared sauna design, flotation tank design and cryo chambers: whatever the facility, design plays a crucial part in enhancing wellness.

Interior design can spark a response from an individual and, as a gym, spa or wellbeing space owner,   you want that spark to be a positive one. Here’s how those spaces can have an affirmative impact on your members or guests.

Meditation room design

Natural elements make the design of a meditation room more conducive to relaxation and introspection. Even if your meditation space is at the heart of an inner city, creating a haven designed with natural materials that are pleasing to the eye and tactile to the touch such as wood, bamboo and stone will help people get into ‘the zone’ from the minute they walk through the door.

Playing soothing music or sounds and gently perfuming the room with relaxing scents will also help users tap into that calm and present frame of mind.

Infrared sauna design

Infrared saunas use light to make heat. If you are designing an infrared sauna take into account the origins of the original sauna, which was invented by the Finnish more than 2000 years ago.

In infrared sauna design, the use of natural timber connects the sauna user to the great outdoors and helps remind them that, to the Finns, a sauna is not a luxury but a necessity when it comes to sweating out toxins and taking care of their overall wellbeing.

Flotation tank design

Think ergonomic, space-age cool. Flotation tank design embodies the very concept of Zen with sleek lines and monochrome colours. Soft lighting in the room itself helps the user adjust to the feeling of being inside the tank, and won’t be jarring to the senses when they get out.

Stepping into a flotation tank is like kissing your worries goodbye as all external stimuli are removed. Regular sessions help to improve sleep, reduce stress and reset the body.

Cryo chambers

It is claimed that exposing oneself to low temperatures has benefits including muscle healing and pain relief. Sufferers of long-term or chronic pain often also suffer from depression and the use of cryo chambers as a means to manage pain can therefore benefit one’s mental wellbeing.

Cryo chambers are ideally placed in a calming environment with soothing sounds and relaxing colours to help alleviate any trepidation the user may feel when they’re about to expose themself to the shock of the bracing cold.

Vitamin drips

IV vitamin drips have been around for a while, however with the pandemic-induced growing awareness of taking care of ourselves, they have seen a surge in popularity. People are, naturally, seeking to boost their immunity and, for many, a daily multivitamin is no longer enough.

Suffice to say, many clinics are now offering vitamin drips to cater to their clientele’s desire for an energy and immunity-boosting cocktail of vitamins and minerals. And while the link between a vitamin drip and mental wellbeing may seem like a tenuous one, the very act of looking after oneself is a positive one.

IV vitamin drips are seen as a luxury, so design-wise this will be less hospital ward and more of a clean, white, modern clinical setting that is soothing and helps one feel balanced while they’re hooked up to their drip.

Mental health trends and your wellness space

At zynk, we understand why wellness is important for mental health and we know that our clients do too. If you’d like to learn more about our luxurious spaces for relaxation, wellness, and physical and mental wellbeing, take a look at some of our projects.

Meanwhile, make sure you sign up for our newsletter below to receive our regular wellness design updates.