Effectiveness of Mindfulness Techniques and Virtual Reality in Reducing Stress
Keywords:mindfulness, virtual reality, anxiety, electrodermal activity
AbstractMindfulness and virtual reality (VR) have recently been growing popular as stress–coping strategies. Despite that, there is not enough research that compared these techniques or has taken personality traits into account. This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of mindfulness and virtual reality techniques for immediate stress–relief and to examine the efficacy of techniques depending on individual differences in trait anxiety and dispositional mindfulness. The study was conducted on 122 participants. One VR animation was used to induce fear of height in participants, while VR nature animation and mindfulness audiotape were used to relax participants. Subjective and physiological indices of anxiety were measured through electrodermal activity. Five–Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and Questionnaire of Approach and Avoidance Motivation were used to collect information about dispositional mindfulness and trait anxiety. Results suggest that the participants estimated that they were significantly more relaxed after the nature animation and the mindfulness audiotape compared to the control group, although the physiological measures did not follow these results. Furthermore, mindfulness audiotape was most effective in highly anxious and low mindfulness individuals, while in the case of nature animation these dispositions did not play a significant role. This study indicates the possibility to use short mindfulness and virtual reality techniques in stress–reduction as well as the importance of personality traits in their effectiveness.