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Mandala VR Healing Experience
Role Independent Project
Duration April 2022 - June 2022
Tools Unity; C#; Autodesk Maya
As more and more Chinese families send their children to study abroad, Chinese students not only have to adapt to a different culture and learning environment, but also have to deal with the mental health issues that come with it. Due to pressures from various sources, Chinese international students are at increased risk of developing psychological distress and undesirable behaviors. How to help and reduce the mental health problems of Chinese students has become an important issue.
As a special group of American college students, Chinese students studying in the U.S. have to deal with more stress than their peers on campus. These students face a variety of challenges, including cultural differences, language acquisition, and adjustment to a new physical and social environment.
According to a survey of Journal of American College Health about "Prevalence of past-year mental disorders and its correlates among Chinese international students in the U.S. higher education，" A total of 222 Chinese international students participated in this survey.
These results suggest that mental health is a pressing issue facing Chinese international students and correlated with other psychosocial factors. All these potential factors may lead to suicide among Chinese international students.
The Risk For Suicide
In a case study, "Combined effects of depression and anxiety on suicide: a case-control psychological autopsy study in rural China," it has been shown, people with high depression and high anxiety were 54.77 times more risk for suicide, much higher the suicide risk of people with either high anxiety or high depression.
Overseas Suicide Cases of Chinese International Students
On June 13, 2019, PhD student Huixiang Chen killed himself in his campus office.
On December 13, 2017, the body of Xiaotian, a senior international student from Chengdu, China, was found in her apartment in the afternoon.
In October 2017, Tang Xiaolin, who was pursuing a PhD in biology, chose to end her young life by taking a leap at the Golden Gate Bridge.
On February 12, 2017, Chinese international student Weiwei Liu, 20, committed suicide in her dormitory.
A Chinese psychology education platform called "Know Yourself" conducted a survey on the mental health status of 10,707 Chinese international students.
With Chinese International Students
User's Emotional Map
1. Henry doesn't want his family to know about the anxiety he is facing.
2. Excessive anxiety can develop into a more serious mental illness.
3. Henry doesn't know of any additional ways to deal with the anxiety.
1. Provide a folder to save emotional memories of the past.
2. A recording room that talks about anxiety.
3. Create a private space for people.
The main goal involving therapeutic art-making is to either experiment or learn something. Art as a therapeutic approach is the latter is generally self-prescribed and self-directed.
Art as Healing focuses on spiritual self-discovery.
Some of the therapeutic benefits of artistic endeavors can be through meditative practice. Through practice and training, participants may achieve “flow,” a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity. Also called “being in the zone,” by focusing only on the task at hand, this state may help an individual reduce self-consciousness and anxiety.
The present study examined a method of decreasing anxiety called “coloring therapy” (Belchamber, 1997) that combines elements of art therapy and meditation. The basic idea of coloring therapy is that when individuals color complex geometric forms, they are provided an opportunity to suspend their “inner dialogue” and to deeply engage in an activity that removes them from the flow of negative thoughts and emotions that can sometimes dominate their lives.
Art Making and Cortisol
According to “Hair cortisol, stress exposure, and mental health in humans: a systematic review” by Staufenbiel, Penninx, Spijker, Elzinga, & van Rossum, Cortisol is a glucocorticoid hormone and one of the most widely studied markers of stress.
The results of Girija Kaimal, Kendra Ray, and Juan Muniz's case study, "Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants' Responses Following Art Making," demonstrated that the reduction in cortisol levels after a brief art-making session was similar in structure to the art therapy situation.
Mandala Art Therapy
Mandala art therapy is used to treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief, anger management, improve self-esteem, manage addictions, relieve stress, improve anxiety symptoms and cope with any kind of physical illness or disability.
Mandala drawing was first practiced by Tibetan Buddhists then developed by Carl Jung. Psychologist Carl Jung reasoned the mandala represented the whole self, and the circular shape provided for endless purposes in the treatment scenario.
Art therapy for mandala drawing in the general population has found that it can identify psychological disorders (Kim et al., 2014), reduce depression and anxiety in female college students (Flett et al., 2017), and reduce anxiety in college students (Hass-Cohen et al., 2018).
Mandala and Positive Psychology
Also, mandala art therapy can raise happiness and to comprehend the mechanism of happiness from positive psychology’s viewpoint. Mindfulness and spirituality are both correlated with subjective well-being (Csikszentmihalyi, 2013).
I want to create a mandala VR healing space based on Unity. Users can release their emotions while coloring the mandala, allowing them to achieve the goal of reducing anxiety in this space.
Mandala Art Pattern Design
Jung’s Five Stages of Mandala
These are five mandalas I created based on Jung's mandalas.
Completed Mandala Folder
Space Colour Modes
Mandala Art Pattern Design
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