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The Science of YourHaven

Rigorous scientific research has revealed the numerous ways in which meditation and mindfulness practice benefit mental and physical wellbeing, including improving attention, reducing stress, alleviating loneliness, boosting confidence and sociality, and even benefiting the immune system (Norris et al., 2018; Behan, 2020; Saini et al., 2021; Callen-Davies, 2023; Black and Slavich, 2016).


So, Why practice mindfulness in XR?


In short, Extended Reality can be a vehicle for transformative experience, that provides a new dimension to mindfulness. It simultaneously lowers the barrier to entry for those new to meditation, as well as expands the possibilities for experienced and curious meditators.


YourHaven’s immersive meditation and breathwork experiences combine mindfulness techniques for the affordances of immersive virtual and mixed reality, built upon the following scientifically-backed principles:


Scientific research shows that embodiment in virtual reality leads to higher emotional response to the virtual environment. An illusory sense of embodiment through a virtual avatar is shown to increase emotional arousal in the virtual space, and therefore increase the efficacy of VR applications for psychotherapy or other health applications (Gall et al., 2021).


Changes in the appearance of one’s avatar in VR can cause changes in the behaviour of the individual, through what is known as the “proteus effect”. This effect has been shown to even lead to higher level cognitive changes (Liu, 2023).


Connection to your physical body in the virtual environment is therefore crucial to YourHaven’s experiences.

Sense of Presence

The distractions of everyday life and can often leave us feeling disconnected from ourselves and the space around us. By transporting yourself into a new environment in XR, you are offered a repose in which to reconnect with your body, senses, and emotions.


XR environments are shown to induce a sense of presence through the body ownership illusion, which in turn can allow for lasting psychological benefits (Matamala-Gomez et al., 2021). Feeling present is key to mindfulness, and therefore, key to our XR experiences.


Self-expression through creative interaction can greatly benefit particular aspects of mental health, including inducing transient hypofrontality, a brain-state associated with relaxation and decreasing the self-reflective processes that can cause anxiety and overthinking. In other words: it lets your brain rest (Hadjipanayi et al., 2023).


YourHaven experiences allow custom interaction with the environment, to create a safe space in which to express your own individuality.

VR Increases Learning Speed

Interaction and immersion in VR significantly improve learning and retention (Petersen et al., 2022). It can make many meditation concepts more accessible and easier to grasp – allowing those who have struggled with meditation in the past a new entry point and toolkit with which to approach the practice.

Many meditation and mindfulness concepts relating to embodiment and self-reflection can be visualized and explored through the XR environment in ways not possible in the physical world.

Evoking Awe

Largely through what is known as the “overview” effect, and through the ability to manipulate perceptions of time and space to create grandiose visual experiences, XR environments are known to evoke awe in users (Chirico et al., 2016). This “awe-effect” is shown to calm down the central nervous system and trigger the release of oxytocin, as well as enhance self-perception and overall quality of life (Monroy and Keltner, 2023).

YourHaven experiences allow custom interaction with the environment, to create a safe space in which to express your own individuality.

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