This editorial is written by Felicia Miranda, a freelance technology journalist. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaVagabond. We hope this editorial helps you find the best VR content available!
There’s more to virtual reality than exploring distant worlds and trying out new experiences. Psychologists from all over the world have recommended VR as an effective form of treatment for stress and all kinds of mental illness. From coping with the overwhelming pressure to finding healthy ways to tackle conditions like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), plugging into a virtual therapeutic environment can help people achieve peace of mind.
Virtual reality has helped me in ways that honestly surprised me. What started as a fun escape for an hour or two turned into one of the best ways for me to unwind and reset after a tough day. To share the love with other Vive owners, I’ve put together a list of some of my go-to Viveport apps for when I’m in need of some much needed VR therapy. Hopefully they’ll help you find some peace of mind as well!
Guided Meditation VR
Developer: Cubicle Ninjas
Available on Viveport
For years, my mother told me that meditation could change my life. At first, I was skeptical of such a bold statement. How could sitting cross-legged with my eyes closed make a big impact on my well-being?
Guided Meditation VR changed my opinion by taking me to tranquil locations and letting me take control of my meditation experience. I started off with two minutes a day, and slowly built my way up to a full ten minutes of uninterrupted silence. Now I can meditate on my own with no problems. But there are a few things that make Guided Meditation VR my go-to app after a long, stressful day.
Every day I can meditate somewhere new – be it under the canopy of a rain forest, or in the burnt orange deserts of the Grand Canyon. It’s a luxury to finally meditate without a world full of distractions breaking my Zen. Most importantly, I can let go with these guided experiences, taken directly from ancient traditions and curated by masters of meditation. What’s more comforting than that?
Great for: Relieving stress and anxiety.
Read our interview with Josh Farkas from Cubicle Ninjas, developers on Guided Meditation VR.
Developer: Framestore, Inc
Available on ViveportLUMEN is a project started by Framestore Inc., Dr. Walter Greenleaf, and a group of Stanford research scientists who wanted to create a soothing VR experience for children headed into risky surgical procedures. It uses a combination of breathing exercises, bioluminescent light and ambient sound to shift your focus away from any lingering anxiety and immerse you in a calming, magical world.
A soft-spoken woman gently guides you on this journey. It begins with some controlled breathing, to which you might find yourself slipping into a tranquil state, not just by the sound of her voice but to the comforting glow of a light that radiates in front of you. Shortly afterwards, you’ll be instructed to grow some small seedlings on the forest floor by looking at them. Yes, you read that correctly.
This is where I found immense relaxation. Sometimes I’d grow a tree with long, slender branches that extended towards the sky. Other times, I kept them small, neat and tidy. I remember marveling at the lavish woods I’d grown, and how I left LUMEN with a clear mind and ready to take on the day.
Great for: Relieving anxiety.
Developer: nDreams VR
Available on Viveport
Regardless of whether it’s a vacation to a tropical paradise or a few days to enjoy the quiet stirrings of nature, some time for yourself can make all the difference to your mental health.
Perfect is a Viveport app that caters to your impulses of wanting to get away and relax. You can choose from three virtual locations, each with their own lush and interactive environment that feel so real, it’s sure to convince you that you’ve finally taken that much deserved time off. The places you can travel to include the sandy shores of a tropical beach, a rocky cliff overlooking a beautiful forest, and a snowy arctic landscape beneath the Northern Lights.
One of my favorite features of Perfect is the sensational audio quality. As I’m taking in the dazzling life-like scenery, I’m surrounded by sounds of crashing waves and chirping birds at the shore, the crackling of the fire as it burns under the Aurora Borealis, and the hum of blowing wind and wildlife at the top of the mountain. Taking a moment to close your eyes and savor the moment is highly recommended.
Great for: Stress-relief, as a travel alternative.
The Night Cafe: A VR Tribute to Van Gogh
Developer: Borrowed Light Studios
Available on Viveport
In The Night Cafe, you can take your appreciation for the arts to the next level by stepping into an oil painting and experiencing a world depicted through Van Gogh’s famous brushwork. You don’t have to have an arts degree to dig this app. You’ll be able to appreciate the stunning details of his work, brought to life by the magic of the virtual reality.
The highlight of this app is how abstract the world looks. While most VR experiences aim to be as realistic as possible, The Night Cafe is a beautifully surreal experience, accentuated by Van Gogh’s art style and signature choice of bold colors. I was amazed at how I could walk around and examine objects that previously existed in a 2D painting. While I never get tired of taking a walk through The Night Cafe, I can’t wait to see more apps like it in the future.
Great for: Art lovers, lifting your mood
Firebird – La Péri
Developer: Innerspace VR
Available on Viveport
One of my favorite past times when I’m stressed out is to sit down and read a book or watch a movie. The thing is, I save only the most extraordinary tales for when I’m feeling down, and that’s because they have this amazing ability to sweep you away.
Enter Firebird – La Péri. This VR experience is inspired by a ballet from a French composer by the name of Paul Dukas, whose story follows a prince on a mission to fetch the flower of immortality. In your search, you awaken La Péri, and this is where your adventure truly begins.
An enchanting combination of fairy tale meets ballet, Firebird – La Péri won me over with its story, but it keeps me coming back with its incredible audio and visuals. Although short in length, it’ll take you on an interactive journey with breathtaking effects, remarkable narration, captivating dancing, and a moving plot. It’s also the perfect medicine for a gray day.
Great for: Enhancing your mood, relieving stress.
Guided Meditation VR, LUMEN, Perfect and Firebird – La Péri are available on Viveport.