The iconic singer tells us about her new VR mental health care platform.
Wellness Wire
IN a nutshell
The first time I wore a virtual reality (VR) headset 4 years ago, I remember being transported from my brother’s garage to a mountaintop mansion in another world. It was fun, fascinating, and bizarre all at once.
Fast forward to today: VR technology has entered the healthcare space, with new uses and perks popping up every day. One of the latest? Superstar Jewel’s new metaverse-based mental health platform, Innerworld, which we chat with her about below.
Here’s what else you can expect to read about today:
a dive into the metaverse with this VR headset
the latest developments in virtual mental health care
more health stories you need, like therapy options for every budget
your chance to enter a giveaway for a Hydrow rower
Be well,
Morgan Mandriota
Newsletter Editor, Healthline
  Written by Morgan Mandriota
March 3, 2023 • 6 min read
Jewel has come a long way since she grew up in Alaska with no running water. Today, she’s known for being an iconic singer-songwriter, actress, New York Times best-selling author, and now a pioneer in the mental health and virtual reality spaces by co-founding the new Cognitive Behavioral Immersion™ platform, Innerworld.
We scored the chance to chat with the superstar about her personal wellness journey and how she envisions Innerworld helping millions of folks across the globe with or without access to mental healthcare or a Meta Quest headset.
Enter Jewel’s Innerworld below.
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: What do you wish you knew earlier in your mental health journey?
A: Learning that every thought, feeling, or action takes you in or out of one of your nervous system responses (sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system response).
Every time you’re contracted, tight, anxious –– noticing those body cues, then keeping a journal of “What was I just thinking, feeling, or doing?” Then every time you’re relaxed, open, or calm, keep a journal of “What was I thinking, feeling, or doing?”
What you’re going to have after a month is a blueprint to your specific nervous system. You can force yourself out of a dysregulated nervous system state by participating in something on your list of what calms you and what gets you back into that parasympathetic nervous system.
It’s a really simple skill. Everybody’s able to do that. That one thing really changed my life.
Q: Why do you think virtual reality lends itself so well to vulnerable conversations about mental health?
A: It lends itself to mental health for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is anonymity. This can help people feel much safer psychologically.
We’re seeing adoption from groups that traditionally don’t adopt easily into mental health care, like men. We’re also seeing people from all walks of life coming –– people who use this to supplement their mental health needs, people who don’t have the means for traditional support systems, etc.
We believe it’s because of the anonymity and [because] people are able to connect around the fact that we all struggle with anxiety, no matter our socioeconomic [status], environment, or job.
Greg Grunberg
Q: What would you say to people who are skeptical about Innerworld?
A: It’s free. It’s as easy to use as Zoom. It doesn’t [require] VR goggles. It’s very simple.
You sign in, sign your forms, and you’re intaken. First, you’re brought into your own private living room where there’s no people. I felt that was really important, especially for people with social anxiety. Then, you can enter the community space where there are people and always a live guide.
It’s also really safe. We have incredible monitoring around any kind of trolling or bullying. We have AI protocols and live guides that can help monitor that, so we’re a safe, positive environment.
Q: How do you combine your entire life’s experience to stay present and grounded without letting it pull you back or maybe getting stuck in a particularly hard moment?
A: Something I noticed in my childhood was that abuse was quick. Being hit took 1 second, [but] the decisions I made about being hit affected my life forever. It was me who was giving myself secondary abuse because of the assumptions and conclusions I was drawing from this one moment in time.
That’s where I had a lot of power, in:
  • How am I going to process what’s happening to me?
  • Do I think I have worth?
  • Is my life going to make me more bitter and less trusting? Or am I going to become wiser, more discerning, more giving, more generous?
  • What kind of person am I going to be because of this?
That’s up to you. That’s within your control. And it’s the most rebellious thing we can do. The best “revenge” is a life well lived.
There’s a beautiful Navajo proverb that says, “The obstacle is the path.” I think I was 9 when I learned that the buffalo is the only animal that heads into the heart of the storm, because the quickest way is through. How can I make something beautiful out of my pain? Be the buffalo. Move directly to it. The quicker I can look at it and get curious about it, the quicker I can help it transform.
Read more from our chat with Jewel about Innerworld here.
great finds
Editor faves with health perks
You know those great finds you just *have* to tell your friends about? That’s how we feel about the products we recommend here. Every pick has been vetted by our editorial team, and we genuinely think it’ll make your life better.
Meta Quest 2
Meta Quest 2
What if we told you that you could work out on a volcano, take a meditation class, or sit front row at a show just by putting on a headset? Introducing Meta Quest 2 (formerly known as Oculus).
Wearing this comfortable VR headset lets you exercise, socialize, play 3D immersive video games, and explore alternate realities like you’ve never seen or heard before. Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself. (Just be careful of motion sickness!)
Shop now
How can VR help your mental health?
Weird Science
How can VR help your mental health?
Virtual reality is rapidly revolutionizing the healthcare industry, especially mental health care. Some professionals have started offering VR for a variety of reasons. Research and anecdotal evidence supports that VR can improve someone’s mental health in so many ways, like:
reducing fears and phobias (especially fear of needles!)
reducing stress and anxiety in children and adults
reducing severe pain and nervousness in people who are hospitalized
creating community and psychological support (hello, Innerworld!)
boosting mindfulness practices and its associated benefits
relieving depression symptoms, especially via “scent-enabled VR” treatments
So how accessible is VR-based therapy? That depends. The equipment can cost hundreds of dollars, so folks without insurance or the financial means may not be able to access it as easily. Experts hope that it will become more accessible in the near future, though.

If you snag the chance to enter this alternate reality, here’s your second friendly reminder to be careful of VR motion sickness. 😵‍💫
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Thanks for reading! Oh, and happy National Day of Unplugging. I’m off to log off and spend some device-free time outside. We’ll be back in your inbox on Monday with more health stories you need and an exciting giveaway that you won’t want to miss. 🎁

Speaking of giveaways, we’ve got one for you today, too …

Healthline teamed up with @hydrow to give away (2) Hydrow rowers!

Rowing is a low impact, full body exercise that’s great for your heart and lungs and can help you build power and endurance. It’s also accessible to many different levels of fitness. Hydrow rowers, specifically, offer an immersive experience that allows you to row all around the globe with thousands of streaming classes.

You have two options for entering the giveaway. You can either email us at to tell us your favorite form of cold-weather exercise, or you can hop over to Healthline’s Instagram and follow the instructions under the giveaway post. (2) winners will be randomly selected, contacted by Healthline, and announced on Healthline’s story on March 10, 2023.
Did you enjoy this interview?
Until next time,
Take care of yourself, and we’ll see
you again soon!
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