One thing I deeply appreciate about living in Seattle is the abundance of nature spots and greenery that surrounds the city. It's there that I'm able to recollect my thoughts and realign my energies, especially after a full week of looking at screens. Looking through these pictures on my iPhone, captured during one of my Saturday morning walks at the Washington Park Arboretum, I do reminisce the lush forested areas of Seattle as I'm back in urban, tropical Singapore for a short vacation.
Studies have shown (NY Times, The Atlantic) that walks in nature have been found to reduce our tendency to ruminate, or to compulsively over think or obsess over negative thoughts, which in turn leads to a better state of mental health.
As I briefly diverged from the 2 articles above, another food for thought was that while urban environments increases our exposure to stress, it can also provide us with better emotional and social benefits compared to rural environments. Either way, not everyone living in an urban area is blessed with access to a comfortable sojourn in nature.
Can this current onslaught of immersive experiences in Virtual/Mixed Reality provide us with mirco "nature-moments" that help us regain positive focus for people in such circumstance? Can we use that technology to build in a spatial/mental memory that can be triggered through sound?
Especially in situations where donning an alienating headset covering the face is not ideal, like during lunch break or the long train ride home after a hard day of work. Perhaps this calls for an ecosystem of personal sensorial experiences that help us associate certain triggers with a preferred state of mind, creating a state of positive flow and realigned focus during our dead time in dense urban environments.