The project began with a simple question:
How do students deal with stress and negative emotion in their daily lives?
To arrive at an answer, we began with a series of low fidelity probes...
Our first probe asked students to fill out 3 double-sided cards about their responses to conflict.
Each card asked:
Write about a conflict from the past you still think about / If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?   Write about a conflict someone initiated with you / If you could do it all again, how would you react differently?    Write about a conflict you initiated / If you could do it all again, how would you act differently?
For our second probe, we reached out to students through Facebook messenger, with the prompt:
Can you use emojis to describe how you felt about a recent negative event?
The majority of participants responded within seconds with messages such as, “lmfao,” “HAHAHAHAHA WHAT,” or “This sounds amazing.” They were really excited and receptive to this prompt, and revealed surprisingly intimate stories. One shared a story (through emojis) of his recent break up, another told of a conflict she had with her brother over putting down their beloved family dog, and yet another shared a recent experience with her homophobic mother. 
In contrast, when asked to complete a similar exercise in Probe #1, folks were more serious and cautious in fully expressing  themselves.
In our final probe, we wanted to go all out and create an experience that could bring people together through shared stress: scream therapy!
To make it happen, we...
1.  Rented a U-HAUL truck and filled it with balloons. People could either close the door or leave it open, go in alone or with a friend, write their frustration on a balloon... and basically stomp on the balloons and scream their hearts out.
2.  Outside the truck, we positioned "Frustration Boards," where people could collaborate and add to the pile of emotions.
3.  At the end of the experience, we brought in cute puppies to aid in stress-release, and also gave away special laser-cut tokens as keepsakes. 
To make sure the event attracted as many people as possible, we advertised on Facebook and sent out a survey. In the days leading up to the event, we received an incredible number of enthusiastic responses -- which told us people really needed an outlet!
We had far more participants than we could have imagined. Most everyone we interviewed loved the experience, and felt better after letting loose in a public space. Those who had come alone particularly enjoyed the Frustration Boards, as it was a less awkward way to express their thoughts. From this probe, we learned that people like venting both collaboratively and anonymously. The key was a social context, without the added stress of public spectacle. 
Inspired by the experiences of those who might not feel as comfortable undergoing shenanigans with friends, I imagined a mediation concept to put negative emotions in perspective...

Begin with a piece of paper which prompts you to write a worry or fear. Decorate with emojis, or choose from a palette of colors to create doodles. When finished, swipe corners of the paper to fold the airplane.

Press the arrow to launch the paper airplane. See an animation of your airplane moving into a field with other user’s airplanes. Tap another plane to uncover it. Tapping open an airplane at this level will reveal other’s notes that are within your own state or country. 
Maybe there can be some level of interaction record, such as number of times viewed.

Continue to zoom out. See paper airplanes cover the whole earth. Everyone’s got problems.
Again, tap on any one of them.  Keep zooming. Opening an airplane at this level will reveal notes from the whole world, maybe even in languages you can’t read.

Zoom far enough, and the paper airplanes will disappear.
The Earth grows very faint. The solar system. The galaxy. Infinite space. Its quiet up here in
You are very small.
Easter egg idea: zooming far enough, (very far) may reveal a planet in another galaxy, with utterly illegible airplanes of its own. Alternate universe? Alien planet? Up to you.
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