Sometimes, we all have bad days and need some relaxation. For some people taking a bubble bath is pretty relaxing, others play with their pets, but some of us prefer the sounds of nature. No one would argue that hearing the sounds of the sea, of birds, singing, waterfalls, etc., is pretty relaxing. But what if you live in a city, and there are no waterfalls near you?
There is one interesting option – virtual nature. Just like some people love fireplaces so they turn on videos of fireplaces on their TVs, people can enjoy the sound of nature. But will it be as good as real nature?
The Positive Effects of Nature on People
Most people are aware of the positive effects caused by simply spending time outdoors. But not everyone knows the power of nature on human well-being and mental health. Here are some key facts to note:
- Observing nature helps faster recovery. Patients after surgeries who have been observing nature through their windows have been recovering faster than those patients who saw brick walls.
- Reduces blood pressure.
- Stabilizes the heart rate.
- Improves our mood.
- Can prevent depression.
- Soothes the mind and helps to deal with unpleasant situations.
- People get enough vitamin D when being exposed to the sun.
You can see that there are many positive effects of nature on us. But you will be surprised to find out that virtual reality also has something to offer. Today, after the outbreak of covid-19, we have different relationships with technology and outdoor activities. We can’t just buy tickets and visit another country to enjoy nature simply because there might be some restrictions. But even if there are no limitations, you might want to consider virtual reality first.
Virtual Nature and Positive Effects On People
During the quarantine, scientists have noticed that video games with detailed landscapes have similar effects. We are not talking now about video games and esports, like dota2 bets. Instead of enjoying camping, people may benefit from playing video-games. Skeptics might say that VR can’t be helpful, but scientific research has the opposite data.
Researchers note that observing nature landscapes through VR had similar effects to observing real nature. Here is what they have found out:
- Observing natural landscapes and enjoying realistic sounds of nature helped to reduce such negative feelings as fatigue, confusion, anger, tension, and even depression. Technically, VR technology can even serve as an alternative way to access nature and get necessary restoration.
- Watching nature through VR technology lowered respiratory frequency, and just like real nature, lowered the blood pressure.
Why is it working? There are two theories why nature helps reduce negative feelings. The first one assumes that nature offers space where people can spend time and recover from such negative effects as fatigue and stress.
The other theory offers the idea that people have access to nature and they don’t have to accomplish any difficult tasks. As opposed to modern everyday life when people have jobs, need to study, are exposed to stress, visiting nature doesn’t require using the brain.
Just imagine that you are sitting somewhere near the waterfall, or you’re enjoying a nice breeze. Most people don’t think about exams, difficult situations, work, etc. People simply enjoy every moment of relaxation. As a result, it helps reduce stress and it greatly helps to restore strength and prepare for the next day.
When people are locked indoors, they lack access to nature. That’s when VR technology is extremely helpful. Some scientists even suggest that small portions of VR nature should be prescribed as a medicine to those patients who are recovering from surgeries. But can virtual nature completely replace real nature?
VR vs Real Nature
Of course, if there is no other opportunity to visit a forest or at least a park, VR could be of great help. But some scientists note that even though VR tech can simulate visual and sound effects, it can’t produce certain physical benefits.
For example, visiting a forest is not just about reducing stress and restoration. Trees, plants, even grass, and other vegetation reduces pollution, so you breathe really fresh air. Moreover, the secretion of phytoncides by trees and plants can boost your immune system.
On the other hand, we all have our preferences. For instance, some people may have special positive feelings when they see the sea, others prefer deserts, and some people are fond of forests and rivers. Viewing landscapes that we enjoy the most has obvious benefits. If someone isn’t fond of forests and rivers but is in love with oceans and seas, it would be better for them to view simulated effects of the sea.
In this case, when an individual can’t get access to real nature, it’s best to use VR. For example, if a person lives near the desert, but is fond of green forests, bonding with the desert won’t have the same positive effects. Even though the individual may observe some natural flora and fauna, the effects won’t be the same. And if this person can’t travel, then VR may be a great replacement in this case.
It’s difficult to compare VR technology and real nature. Of course, when you visit your favorite quiet spot, you can enjoy the sunshine, benefit from fresh air, clear from pollutants, and absorb phytoncides that boost the immune system, etc. Naturally, VR can’t simulate these effects. But what if you can’t get access to your favorite spot?
In this case, VR can at least help lower blood pressure and reduce stress. As it was mentioned in the article, observing nature through VR can help reduce negative emotions and feelings. Instead of suffering from anger attacks, anxiety and stress, people can enjoy nature through VR. As a result, the level of stress is reduced and the user has time to restore from a difficult day.
Moreover, if you enjoy the sea or ocean, but live nowhere near the sea, VR could be a good replacement. Both options have benefits for your health and overall well-being. If you don’t have the access to nature, then using virtual nature seems like a great idea to reduce negative effects on your mental health.
Miranda Woolridge is currently working as a blogger and writer at dota2 bets. Her field of interest is varied, and she always tries to expand her knowledge and boost skills.