People play virtual reality games and simulations to escape real life and imagine themselves somewhere else. However, virtual reality can also be a fabulous stress-buster too!
Yes, virtual reality can be used for more than just entertainment. It can help you calm your breathing, “escape” from reality or even be used to regulate emotional responses to trigger stimuli. There are 3 types of virtual reality simulations that can be used for stress and anxiety relief:
- Relaxing: showing the wearer calming environments where they are a spectator only (like the beach or a babbling brook).
- Engaging: putting the user into generic scenarios that they get to interact in (like a game)
- Personalized: creating customized scenes based on the users’ life experiences and memories of real events.
Doctors and healthcare professionals are also starting to use VR for their patients, allowing them to experience environments and locales that they may be too sick or be physically unable to visit. It’s showing to boost their mood and help them de-stress too. Especially now when COVID-19 is restricting many care homes from receiving visitors, the residents get a virtual opportunity to go on a vacation or see the world from the safety of their home.
Virtual reality is helpful for nearly anyone who wants to briefly escape the stress and uncertainty of the real world for a time. Just like a real vacation helps give you a mental boost, a virtual reality “vacation” can have a similar effect and a much lower cost and hassle than a 2-week Hawaiian vacation.
Here are some other areas that Virtual Reality Escape treatments can help manage or treat:
Stress and Anxiety
Often, stress and anxiety is our body’s way of telling us to slow down. Immersing yourself in a calming scene like the beach, a quiet forest trail, or a soaring airplane can help you slow down for a short time. Taking a break is one of the easiest ways to help control anxiety and chronic stress.
PTSD & trauma
When you experience a traumatic event, it can overwhelm your entire body to the point where you struggle to function. Often PTSD and trauma sufferers feel alone or embarrassed to discuss their feelings with others, and they suffer in silence. This can add to the already high mental load they’re carrying and cause even more harm to their mind and body.
Virtual reality can help them re-live the traumatic experience (if that is to their benefit to get closure or learn to respond to the emotions from it), or put them into a relaxing, non-judgmental environment so they can relax their mind and body to begin the healing.
Insomnia & sleep disorders
When you can’t control your brain’s “off-switch” you may find it difficult to get the sleep your body needs to heal and regenerate. Virtual reality can help to control your breathing to prepare you for sleep, or show you images and light patterns that activate the sleep centres of your brain.
It also appears to be helpful for teens. In one study, the participants were first asked to do calming activities before bed. Later, they were asked to use a virtual reality display before bed. During the latter nights, they fell asleep faster and got a higher quality of sleep than the other participants.
If you’ve never tried virtual reality escapes for stress relief before, you can try it in our Comox treatment centre with specially designed virtual reality programs that will help you grow new neural pathways and start you on the path to healing and recovery.
Start with a free 10-minute consultation with Dr. Diamond today to get started.