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  • Writer's pictureWorld Half Full

Boost creativity with just six minutes of VR


Watching videos of nature while listening to mindful audio for just six minutes can improve mood and increase work productivity.

A study by Aston Business School, part of Aston University in Birmingham, England, found the combination can also help boost energy and creativity and the capacity to innovate.

Dr Wladislaw Rivkin, associate professor in organisational behaviour at Trinity Business School and former lecturer at Aston Business School, told Wellbeing News, “Results from a field experiment across 15 days demonstrate that a six-minute immersive VR [virtual reality] or video experience benefits employees’ energy levels and increases their mood. These psychological benefits carry over and help employees to maintain a high effectiveness and be creative throughout the day.”

The research coincides with the launch of a new online subscription service called Your Virtual Mind Trainer (YVMT) developed by Hilary McLellan, a leading organisational behaviourist and executive coach, together with clinical psychologist Dr Ashleigh McLellan.

YVMT offers six-minute 360° immersive nature videos that can be watched on any device — including VR headsets — synchronised with audio recordings covering topics, such as confidence, observing the mind, reconnecting to the body, patience and acceptance.

Although mindfulness training is known to help us to be more rational, capable and innovative, it can be dismissed because it takes time or it’s inconvenient — especially in a work setting — or people just don’t take it seriously.

Hilary McLellan, co-founder and director of YVMT, explains, “Training our minds can lead to increased awareness and the capacity to give our full attention to everything we do. Yet, just like getting fit or stopping smoking, many of our behavioural habits can be hard to change. Setting goals and actions intellectually is one thing but emotions can make deep habitual behaviours difficult and scary to alter.

“Through the YVMT team’s work in coaching and training both individuals and teams for successful behavioural change, the challenge we frequently encounter is that while many people understand what behaviours they need to change and recognise what is getting in the way of those behaviours changing, anxiety, fear or deep-set self-limiting behaviours will often stop them from actually making that change.”

Offering people short breaks with the YVMT to support behavioural change “has shown real benefit in how [clients] have developed self-awareness,” she concludes.

Keys highlights

  • Watching a six-minute nature video has a positive effect on task performance.

  • The benefits of the short break can last for as long as four to six hours.

  • Watching nature on virtual reality headsets has a significant positive effect on creativity and this continues throughout the day.

  • The combination of nature videos with mindful audio can deliver an immediate boost to energy and mood.

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