6 UX Design Principles to Boost Your Well-Being

What’s good for design is also good for your nervous system.

Written by Victoria Gegalow
Published on Jul. 10, 2023
6 UX Design Principles to Boost Your Well-Being
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Unlocking the power of user experience design principles beyond designing interfaces has the potential to illuminate our understanding of the human mind. 

6 Design Principles to Help Your Health

  1. Simplify and clarify your life.
  2. Recognize feedback from your body.
  3. Approach life with empathy and understanding.
  4. Break down overwhelming tasks into manageable pieces.
  5. Be flexible and open-minded.
  6. Derive joy from life.

Embracing a user-centered mindset inspired by UX can help us uncover valuable insights for nurturing our own well-being. From simplifying our surroundings to fostering empathy towards ourselves, these principles can help us develop strategies that cultivate a harmonious and regulated nervous system. In this article, we explore six ways UX can pave the way for enhanced overall health and happiness.

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Simplicity and Clarity

Simplicity and clarity are crucial for creating a positive user experience. Similarly, when regulating our nervous systems, simplifying our environment and focusing on clear and straightforward strategies can be beneficial. Streamlining our routines, minimizing distractions and setting clear goals can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm.

For instance, making buttons a standout color that’s easy to find is an example of simplicity and clarity in UX design. In life, that could look like always hanging your keys on the same hook by your front door or always gassing up the car on Friday night after work.


Feedback and Awareness 

UX designers often provide users with real-time feedback to help them understand their actions and progress. Similarly, in regulating our nervous systems, cultivating self-awareness and paying attention to our body’s signals can be valuable. 

The easiest signals to watch out for are changes to our sleep pattern, fluctuations in mood and pain and tension in the body. Recognizing signs of stress or anxiety allows us to intervene promptly and take appropriate measures to promote relaxation and well-being.


Empathy and Understanding

UX designers strive to understand users’ needs and emotions to create meaningful experiences. When it comes to regulating our nervous systems, practicing empathy towards ourselves is important. Recognizing our emotions, validating them and responding with self-compassion can aid in managing stress and promoting emotional well-being.

For many of us, empathy and understanding toward ourselves doesn’t come naturally. Here is a tip to get started in this practice. First, think about someone or something you love unconditionally (a child, a pet, a friend). Think about them in your situation and what you would say to them. Empathy and compassion feels way more natural when we focus on someone other than ourselves. Take those empathetic thoughts and try to speak them to yourself. It may feel difficult at first, but it will get easier and more natural with practice.


Progressive Disclosure

UX designers often reveal information gradually to users, providing just the right amount of information at the right time. In regulating our nervous systems, adopting a similar approach can be helpful. Breaking down overwhelming tasks into smaller, manageable steps or focusing on one aspect at a time can prevent feelings of being overwhelmed and support a more balanced nervous system.

A great way to start incorporating this into your life right away is through your morning and nighttime routines. Having a simple and attainable plan of about three to five steps can dramatically change your daily experience. Setting your work clothes out the night before, packing your lunch or making a to-do list for the next day are all tasks that actively remove stress from your life and keep your nervous system in a harmonious and comfortable state.


Flexibility and Adaptability

UX design embraces flexibility to accommodate various user needs and preferences. Similarly, in managing our nervous systems, being adaptable and open to adjusting our strategies based on our unique circumstances and changing demands is essential. 

What works for one person may not work for another. What works for you at one time may not work forever. Being flexible and open-minded can help us find effective approaches that support our well-being.

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Delight and Enjoyment

UX designers aim to create delightful experiences that users enjoy and look forward to. In regulating our nervous systems, finding activities and practices that bring us joy and relaxation is important. Engaging in hobbies, spending time with loved ones or practicing mindfulness exercises that bring us genuine pleasure can positively impact our nervous system regulation.

By embracing these principles, we can simplify our lives, gain self-awareness, cultivate empathy towards ourselves, break down overwhelming tasks, adapt to changing circumstances and find joy in the pursuit of a regulated nervous system. Let us embark on this transformative journey, where these simple but effective principles become the compass that leads us to a life filled with balance, fulfillment and lasting happiness.

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