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Virtual Nature: A digital sanctuary for mental well-being

Wellbeing

Noisli Blog - Virtual nature

Sometimes it seems that with the rise of technology, we are losing our connection with nature. While there may be some truth to this, technology also provides a new opportunity to reconnect with nature.

A recent study looked into the impact of brief exposure to immersive nature videos containing nature sounds such as birdsong, the rustling of leaves and water trickling in the river, on adolescents’ mental wellbeing.

The results show that virtual nature exposure reduces stress and enhances mental health and can thus be a great alternative or supplement for those who can’t access real nature as easily or as often.

Nature in the digital realm: a stress-reliever

The study’s key revelation is that even a short exposure to virtual nature can significantly reduce stress and positively contribute to mental well-being among adolescents.

The research found that exposure to immersive nature videos buffered the decline in positive affect, offering a potential shield against the adverse effects of urban environments.

While the study acknowledged that accessing the real-world nature is still the best option, it emphasized the potential of these interventions as supplementary tools, especially for individuals facing barriers in accessing natural surroundings.

The benefits of virtual nature

Accessing nature virtually during your day can have several benefits:

1. Stress reduction

Virtual exposure to nature has been shown to significantly reduce stress levels. Immersive digital experiences can create a calming effect, offering you a momentary escape from the pressures and buzz of the real world.


2. Improved mental well-being

Engaging with virtual nature environments has been linked to improved mental wellbeing. It can act as a buffer against the negative impact of urban environments, promoting positive emotions and overall psychological health.


3. Accessible

Virtual nature provides a solution for individuals who face barriers in accessing natural spaces, such as those with mobility issues, social anxiety, or agoraphobia. It offers an inclusive way for everyone to experience the soothing effects of nature.


4. Supplementary therapeutic tool

Virtual nature exposure can serve as a supplementary tool in therapy. It can be integrated into therapeutic interventions, offering a tangible and accessible method for individuals to relax, reducing anxiety and supporting mindfulness practices.


5. Enhancing productivity

Introducing virtual nature experiences in the workplace can enhance productivity and employee well-being. Studies indicate that short breaks involving virtual nature can refresh employees, reducing stress and mental fatigue. Having access to natural sounds that employees can listen to via their headphones can allow employees to recharge, reduce stress and increase focus and creativity.


There are many other ways to connect with nature from your home.

Avatar photo Written by Sabine Staggl

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