Do you want to take part in a study to help improve your internal awareness? Alongside Anglia Ruskin University, we’re investigating whether internal awareness can help improve mental health and reduce lockdown-related stress. Participants will take part online and receive internal body awareness training worth several hundred pounds, and be entered into a prize draw to win a £50 gift voucher.
Internal body awareness, also known as interoception, is the ability to sense changes from inside your body, such as your heartbeat or feelings of hunger. It’s long been linked with improved mental health.
It focuses on understanding what’s going on inside your body, such as changes in heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. This can help to give us more control over how we react when we feel anxious or stressed.
Participants in the study will learn exercises to practice new ways of being aware of their body. We’ll cover topics like how internal sensations arise, distinguishing between thoughts and feelings, reflecting on and re-evaluating the meaning of experiences, and guidance on building healthier habits.
The aim is to see if the online programme can help people deal with stress more effectively and improve their wellbeing. We think this is especially important at the moment. Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 safety measures, including lockdown, have had a major impact on the UK’s mental health and researchers believe the effects may be profound and long-lasting.
Lockdown is a really important measure that has helped to ensure the safety of a lot of people, but being cooped up for so long has been very difficult and affected the mental health of people across the country.
We’ll be leading the study alongside Dr Aspell, a cognitive neuroscientist at ARU. She says: “I’ve been studying internal body awareness for more than 10 years, but this is the first time I’ve been involved in helping people develop interoceptive awareness through online training, so I’m very excited to see the outcomes from this pilot project.”
The partnership is being funded by COVID-19 Innovation Vouchers offered by ARU to help businesses during these challenging times. Organisations can apply for vouchers worth up to £5,000, which they must match-fund, and these can be used to access academic expertise or innovation support.
The funding also offers an internship scheme, with ARU graduates taking up eight-week placements to work on business projects. The initiative encourages partnership working between ARU and businesses of all sizes as well as charities, social enterprises and local authorities.
If you’re interested in taking part in the study and improving your own interoception, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org And to find out more about the research, please head over to www.yourinnersense.co.uk