Design for Fitness and Wellness with Environmental Psychology
According to Wikipedia, Environmental Psychology focuses on the interplay between individuals and their surroundings. The term “environment” encompasses natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments.
For the most part wellness environments often repel those who know they need to be at such places but have a reluctance to do so. People know they need to exercise but really don’t like exercise. People know they need to go to the doctor but would rather not.
Environments can be created that actually help people do that which they don’t want to do. The right combination of architectural features, finishes, graphics, and lighting can make people want to be in those environments—they even actually look forward to this! For example, research has shown that people feel less pain in environments with natural components, and this can include plants, natural materials, nature graphics, and colors. Obviously, all these would make sense for wellness environments.
The five-thousand-year-old practice of Feng Shui (which translates to “wind and water”) supports the concept of environmental psychology and deals with setting up environments so they “give positive energy” to a space. For example, clutter can “take away energy” from a space, so health-oriented businesses should always be looking to minimize clutter.
Beautiful natural environments and welcoming social spaces are a must component for wellness. Comfortable interactive seating with functional conveniences, such as cell phone charging stations (a thoughtful sign of the times), shows that you care about the needs of the people you serve. Now, and in the future, more thought needs to go into the psychology of how people will feel when in the environments you create. Your spaces can have a positive impact on people’s behavior, a negative impact, or very little impact at all. In today’s increasingly competitive marketplaces successful environmental psychology is one of the most important assets you can use to attract and keep more satisfied customers.
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