With a pandemic, political turmoil and a looming climate crisis, the world has been an anxiety-filled place for the last few years. Rates of depression and anxiety shot up by 70% among California’s youth from 2016 to 2020. LA Times staff writer Todd Martin wrote about how turning to VR meditation has helped cool his own anxiety. Martens joined Lisa McRee on "LA Times Today" with his story. 

Martens has written about his own mental health struggles over the years, especially during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained how VR meditation has helped.

“You can do 10-minute sessions, 15-minute sessions. You’re not in the headset very long. You’ll see this miraculous, sort of kaleidoscope, borderline psychedelic imagery. You’re sort of floating in the clouds or you’re at the edge of the cosmos. There’s a little bit of guided meditation and a voice instructing you to breathe,” Martens explained.  

Virtual reality meditation is relatively new. Martens spoke about the research being done on its effectiveness.  

“I talked to somebody who did a study on college students right before an exam. If they would do 10 or 15 minutes in a VR headset, they would become instantly calmer and instantly a little bit more relaxed. There are some other, smaller studies that show virtual reality can relax you in about four minutes. The thinking is that you’re inside a virtual world, so your mind and your body can just focus on this on this fantastical imagery front of you,” he said.  

Martens uses the meditation app, Tripp, on which users have logged more than 5.5 million minutes since 2020. 

“There’s numerous apps in the last few years that have been doing this. I was using Tripp, but there’s an app called Maloka. There’s an app called Guided Meditation VR, an app called Healium. Investors certainly believe there’s a market. We’ll see if it continues to strengthen,” Martens shared.  

In the meantime, Martens said, he will continue to incorporate VR meditation in his own mental health journey. 

Watch the full interview above. 

Watch “LA Times Today” at 7 and 10 p.m. Monday through Friday on Spectrum News 1 and the Spectrum News app.