Studies show that exposure to green environments, nature and wildlife can hugely improve psychological wellbeing, with research
demonstrating that hospital patients who are exposed to green spaces have been shown to recover more quickly and to need fewer painkillers than similar patients who aren’t exposed to green spaces.
carried out in 2015 studied our emotional response to nature, which proved that "microbreaks" in nature (looking at a green roof in a city, rather than bare concrete) improve our cognitive functioning. It demonstrated that our eyes respond to fractal patterns in nature because their internal physical structure is made up of similar patterns. They also found that concentration and focus could be improved in just 40 second breaks spent looking at nature. This finding is significant with most of our population now living and working in cities, as it shows we should be thinking about easily accessible green spaces and shorter breaks.
One relatively affordable and convenient way for healthcare providers and businesses to provide access to nature is 360-degree videos in virtual reality.
published by the University of Illinois in 2020, looked at whether simulated nature can support mental health by comparing short, single-doses of non-interactive 360-degree nature videos in virtual reality with the outdoors. They found that six minutes of nature exposure in mobile VR headsets produced similar effects as six minutes of outdoor nature exposure, with exposure in both conditions resulting in a pattern of increasing physiological arousal associated with higher positive affect. In conclusion, short and isolated exposure to a non-interactive 360-degree video of nature can provide an emotionally beneficial alternative to visits to outdoor nature for those might not otherwise access restorative outdoor environments.
Virry VR is designed to help two basic emotional needs: to feel more energised or to feel less stressed. The selection of interactive experiences with animals, where you will be asked to perform some action about the animal: feeding, bathing, calling, etc., can help improve your mood in the following specific ways:
— Big mammals: when you need to feel energised
— Small mammals: when you want to have fun and play
— Herbivores: when you want to feel comforted
— Carnivores: when you want an exciting adrenaline boost
Or you can select a non-interactive experience, immersing yourself in one of several relaxing environments to practice breathing exercises.