Disclaimer: These are tips from our team and are mostly advice from our own experiences dealing with mental health and meditation. If you need help battling your anxiety, please consult this website for professional help. The tips that follow are not medical opinions and are meant as advice on trying VR for a new experience.
Is VR good for anxiety? Can VR meditation be your next move into a healthier mental state? Let’s discuss the benefits of VR meditation for relaxation and self-soothing.
Research from 2019 finds that virtual reality can help treat anxiety in patients and many anecdotal articles online agree on this subject. So, it’s not surprising that there’s a growing interest in the use of VR for mindfulness, relaxation and meditation. My interest in VR meditation started once I got gifted my first VR headset and one of the suggested apps on there was TRIPP, an app for meditation. It was right after work that day that I decided to give it a try, to loosen up on the work-day tension.
Some background information on my experience with meditation, I have tried it before with no success, the overthinking was just too powerful, from “What’s the time?” to “What am I doing with my life?” the thoughts went wild. So, I truly didn’t know what to expect from this guided voiceover relaxation session, and I was certain I would still manage to lose my focus eventually. The complete opposite happened: I was completely focused on the breathing exercise and the visually stimulating aspects of the app helped me stay immersed in the activity. The outside world didn’t exist in those 10 minutes, and I had the chance to concentrate only on my wellbeing. Here’s a few tips on what I wish I knew before I started my VR meditation experience.
Don’t worry about how much space you’re going to need. Prioritise finding a comfortable sitting position before putting on the headset. Also, choose your position carefully and make sure that you have enough room to move your arms, for example, without triggering the boundary edges of your tracking (especially if like me, you own an Oculus Quest).
Depending on your level of experience with meditation overall, this might be quite a surprise. If you’ve struggled with losing your focus during meditation before, in the real world, virtual world meditation might startle you with how unique and effective it can be.
But don’t worry, VR doesn’t make everyone sick. But most of the time it happens because of the incorrect optimisation and development for that device. Sickness can appear due to a bad frame rate, misunderstanding of the locomotion or how to move the user within the VR experience/space. As a 2021 report explains, sickness occurs because VR content needs to restore harmony between the visual and vestibular systems of the body.
Maximise your focus by making sure no external noise can bother your experience. Some people, especially VR beginners, are not aware of the fact you can plug in your earphones or headphones to your headset, especially if it doesn’t have integrated ones.
If you want to have a taste at what VR meditation can be like, have a look at this 360 video by us of a VR mountain meditation… With the iconic voice of Sir David Attenborough. You can open it in your Youtube VR app to be immersed in it, seated on the top of one of these astonishing mountains!
Thank you for following along – more articles to come, so send in any questions you may have about VR, or the immersive tech world and we’ll do our best to answer. What are your best tips for trying VR for the first time? Let us know on social media.