Applications of VR: Wellness, Relaxation, and Mindfulness

Someone sitting at the edge of a pier

Virtual reality technology offers the opportunity to transport users into another world. VR is commonly used for entertainment or educational purposes, but can also be used to place users in therapeutic environments that are conducive to relaxation and mindfulness.

When VR is used within a wellness framework, it can help individuals increase focus by centering their thoughts and helping to eliminate external stresses without having to leave the office.

The importance of stress-relief and mindfulness

Productivity depends on your workforce’s ability to consistently work to a predetermined level without compromising quality or employee wellness. If individuals feel overwhelmed or stressed, they can become incapable of reliably performing the assigned tasks, regardless of their skill or general proficiency levels.

80% of employees report feeling stressed on the job, and nearly half say they need help managing that stress. On top of that, 20% to 50% of corporations’ annual employee turnover has been attributed to employee stress and ‘burnout’.

Whether stressors are rooted in life away from work or are rooted in job-related tensions, companies that can mitigate the damaging effects of employee stress position themselves for improved success, growth, and productivity.

Stress can negatively impact both our physical and mental health and contribute to acute and chronic depression. 

Since stress triggers cortisone, adrenaline, melatonin, and other hormones to be released in the brain, it can impact mood and influence overall brain health. While cortisol can be beneficial in smaller amounts, too much can cause memory loss as individuals age.

These chemicals can also impact prefrontal cortex functions — the part of the brain responsible for higher-level cognition and planning complex cognitive behavior — resulting in anxiety, depression, or aggression. Stress can cause feelings of anxiousness, restlessness, a lack of motivation, irritability, and sadness. 

The key to maintaining an overall positive inclination or predisposition lies in keeping these chemicals and hormones in balance, in addition to a well-structured diet, reduced exposure to stressful events, and exercise. Stress-reducing activities, such as meditation and mindfulness habits, can positively impact brain function and improve general wellbeing. 

Furthermore, stress can trigger the brain to “reward” the execution of unpleasant actions — such as performing a particular task — with unpleasant feelings that reinforce the original stress and displeasure. It can be a self-perpetuating cycle that can have a disastrous impact on all areas of your organization.

Transport to the beach, mountains, or the rainforest 

VR for relaxation and mindfulness helps reduce anxiety, as individuals are immersed in peaceful, stress-reducing environments. Employees can take advantage of these mindfulness activities prior to an important meeting, during a break, or even before learning a new responsibility, helping minimize job-related stress. 

This increased emphasis on relaxation and stress-relief can lead to improved moods while also boosting productivity. Organizations incorporating wellness and mindfulness activities, such as micro-breaks for meditation, have experienced a 120% increase in employee productivity.

Consider peak production periods, which can see the cancelation of elective time off or vacation travel. This high-stress time can leave even the most motivated employees feeling drained and in need of rejuvenation. Or consider the stress of a new employee trying to learn all aspects of their new role. Taking mindfulness and meditation breaks can help them feel grounded and maintain their confidence as they learn the new job.

VR Relaxation to the rescue

VR relaxation scenarios vary, and choices are virtually limitless. With top notch content from providers such as Solas VR, choose from real-world environments such as the following:

  • Lush rainforest vegetation with crystalline streams and brooks softly gurgling in the background. 
  • Early spring mountain mornings, valleys carpeted with wildflowers and topped with endless blue skies await city-dwellers desperate to get away from an endless maze of concrete and skyscrapers. 
  • Employees can relax under towering palm trees, meditatively watching waves crawl toward the shore during mid-day sessions that leave them feeling refreshed and energized. 

With the portability and accessibility of VR relaxation methods for stress reduction, employees can benefit from mid-day wellness breaks without ever having to leave their desks.

Guided meditation with VR

Employees can benefit from guided, instructor-led meditation in quiet, peaceful surroundings, leading them through a series of predetermined breathing progressions or body positions. These experiences, designed for modern people, can help employees reconnect with nature and feel more present and refreshed when getting back to work.

Different experiences have different effects on individuals. It’s important to remember that not every employee will thrive in a guided meditation; some will be better suited to solo activities. Self-guided, immersive, non-linear experiences provide additional ways for employees to move into a relaxed state of mind. Many of these environments are less structured, and more game-like, allowing users to experience various exploration and journey-like experiences in the form of walking or physical meditation. 

PIXO: Here to help

PIXO has recently partnered with Solas VR to add their content to the PIXO Apex platform! Along with the many training modules, Apex users can now take advantage of The Meditation Space, The Breathing Space, and The Wisdom Space; each ‘space’ containing a range of experiences to help users reconnect, refresh, and recenter themselves.

PIXO Apex offers real-time reporting and analytics data, giving you instant access to employee feedback from any VR relaxation, training, or other sessions. With PIXO, your organization can boost productivity and employee satisfaction with VR experiences and guided meditations for modern life.

Check back on our website and watch for updates on the blog to get all of the latest news on VR content options for meditation, relaxation, wellness, and training. 

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