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Growth Mindset Series: VR and Nature (3 of 4)

Virtual Reality is mostly sold as an immersive way to play video games. But it might prove to be an incredible tool in the fight for better mental health.

Not too long ago, there was a lot of chatter about using VR in a therapeutic setting. After all, researchers keep finding it effective in eliminating pain in cancer patients. That’s an incredible breakthrough, we can all agree. And there is plenty of evidence that VR can go even further than that in helping our mental health.

There’s a way scientists have found we can use VR to essentially biohack our bodies into thinking we are enjoying nature.

VR and “Nature”

In 2018, those of us who follow VR research noted an interesting study looking into the use of VR in providing “nature” therapy.

I know that sentence seems contradictory, but bear with me.

Patients would use VR to explore “natural” settings — like forests and beaches — which directly led to enhanced well-being, better pain management, and mental health benefits.

The key takeaway: for people with limited access to nature, VR is a way to get many of the benefits of being in the great outdoors.

That sounds strange, but the use cases are nearly endless.

Future space travel can now implement VR that immerses people in comforting settings, reducing their risk of anxiety and depression. People working in extreme locations, like off-shore facilities or in submarines, can recharge this way, too.

That’s not to mention the billions of people who live in cities and can’t conveniently get out into nature.

Can VR Make Me Feel Better?

The question becomes: Can we use VR to optimize our own mental health?

I’m not a doctor. But the evidence is compelling. Obviously, there’s no substitute for going outside and experiencing nature for yourself, but what if you are stuck in a situation where that isn’t easy? I think VR could be an amazing way to boost your spirits. An interesting, unpredictable benefit of this technology — one I’m definitely going to experiment with.

Best regards,


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