Poem scientifically engineered to boost mood, physical activity — but does it work on you?

LONDON — In a unique fusion of art and science, bestselling poet Charly Cox has created a spoken word poem specifically designed to boost people’s moods and encourage physical activity. The poem, entitled “Nothing Feels Better,” was produced in collaboration with sports brand ASICS and DJ/music producer Brian d’Souza, also known as Auntie Flo.

Cox crafted the composition from over 40,000 submissions from the public, who shared words that inspire them to be more active. The words were carefully selected and combined, then laid over an instrumental track composed by Auntie Flo. The music was tuned to a frequency of 111 Hz, a wavelength believed to encourage the production of endorphins, thereby elevating mood and improving focus. The track also incorporates specific chord progressions—such as moving from C Major to G Major—to induce a mood-boosting response among listeners.

The initiative follows a global mental health study involving 37,000 adults across the globe. Participants rated themselves on 10 emotional and cognitive metrics, including composure, resilience, positivity, contentment, relaxation, confidence, alertness, calmness, focus, and energy. The average score was just 62 out of 100. Notably, the study found that just 15 minutes and nine seconds of physical activity can have a positive mental impact.

Further data revealed that:
– On average, adults were active four days a week.
– Nine percent of respondents admitted to no physical activity in a given week.
– Sixty-four percent cited improving fitness levels as their main motivator for physical activity.
– Forty-eight percent wanted to improve mental health.
Listening to music emerged as the top motivator for physical activity (33%), followed by non-sporty activities like gardening (31%).

“Mental illness can be debilitating. The poetic irony that movement helps is so often a kind suggestion from a well-meaning friend that you just want to shout at and ignore,” Cox says in a statement, per SWNS. “Gentle movement has helped stave off some of my worst episodes. I really hope this track inspires people to just try. When life feels like a marathon, what’s the point in sprinting? Find pride and joy in moving to feel better, not to be better.”

Victoria Williamson, a music psychologist speaking on behalf of ASICS, adds: “The relationship between music and the brain is fascinating. Using sounds, chords, and frequencies, you can increase blood flow in regions of the brain that stimulate different emotions. The techniques Auntie Flo has used are designed to activate the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, which influence how we feel and can spark feelings of energy and motivation.”

With barriers like self-consciousness (28%), cost of facilities (24%), and fear of injury (16%) cited as obstacles to physical activity, the poem “Nothing Feels Better” aims to inspire and motivate, making a meaningful impact on mental wellbeing. You can read it below:

Nothing Feels Better

I know it can feel gloomy in here
I’ve noticed
How fast things can be going fine
And then just stop working
The overwhelm, the sleepy sludge
Fighting off the thought of just for a day
Giving up
Screaming give me a break
Why can’t waking up be enough
Breaking up with faking thoughts of
Everything is fine thanks
Because it’s not
My stillness swells into heaviness
How do I build in this unfriendliness
This space I can’t put words to
I want to learn to
Being human is tough
I need time to show myself some love
I want to shake my body until it releases
Tiny voices
That sing
Songs my head can shake off
And splash passion
As I watch the distance I’ve come get closer
I don’t plan on sprinting over the finish line
I want to get to know her
I want to bathe in the commotion
I want to become the very notion
Of a transformation
I am every ounce, stretch and bounce of feeling
I am the crowd of my mind’s elation
I am something incredible
I am human nature nurturing my soul
I am the goal, uplifted
Showing myself with every minute
That what I never thought possible
Even this morning
Will keep on shifting
With the bass thump of my heart
With the pace of my feet
When all of this meets
In my mind
Nothing feels better
Than moving
Than this brilliance
Than this valiant and spirited awakening
Than this healthy, empowered, committed
Nothing feels better
Than my body lifting my mind
All me, all mine.

South West News Service writer Rich Jenkins contributed to this report.

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