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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

Could A Shape-Shifting Ball Boost Your Mental Health?

If you are struggling with anxiety, there are therapists in Kensington who can help in all sorts of ways. Among the common forms of therapy is mindfulness, which is all about getting you to focus on living in the moment and exclude troubling thoughts.


Practising mindfulness can include various breathing exercises and a new device has been invented that has been designed to help with this.


A shape-shifting ball might sound like something out of science fiction, but it is the invention of Alexz Farrall, a Ph.D. computer science student at the University of Bath.


The idea is that the soft ball changes shape in tune with the breathing of the individual who is holding it, helping create a sense of personalisation when it comes to mindfulness breathing exercises.


Mr Farrall said: "By giving breath physical form, the ball enhances self-awareness and engagement, fostering positive mental health outcomes."


As well as mindfulness used to reduce stress reduction, other therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy use breathing exercises, but some people find it harder to focus on their breathing and so they lose the benefit of the therapy. The ball is designed to make it easier to concentrate.


"I hope this device will be part of the solution for many people with problems relating to their mental well-being," the inventor commented.


It is not just the Computer Science Department at Bath University where work is being undertaken to support the use of therapy. The university has its own Centre for Mindfulness and Community Challenges.


The latest paper from the centre has challenged some common perceptions of mindfulness, arguing that Western individualistic perspectives have made the practice very “me” focused, whereas the Eastern cultures where the practice originated have had a broader emphasis that also encompasses relations with others.


Report co-author Dr Liz Marks said that in addition to self-improvement, mindfulness offers “the chance to ‘look outside themselves’, deepening their sense of place within nature and interconnectedness with their community.”

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