The word "immersive" comes from the English word "immersive" which denotes, in the context of virtual reality, the generation of a three-dimensional representation that seems to surround the user. In the general context, it represents the immersion of a person in an activity in which he is currently participating.
The word "immersive" itself can denote a general state in which a person completely disconnects from the real world and engages in some activity or event. It doesn't necessarily have to be just virtual reality. All sorts of activities can be immersive, such as reading a book, observing or experiencing some work of art (picture, play), watching a movie. The only thing that matters is that in order to characterize something as immersive, that something must attract and capture the user's attention and lead him to fully commit and focus on that activity he performs.
Where do immersive experiences occur?
Immersiveness itself is often used in art and entertainment. Different artists today use a variety of interactive performances and exhibitions to create immersive experiences for their visitors. Immersiveness is also used in video games (especially when it comes to newer VR games) and the film industry (in the form of 3D movies). Immersive activities in the context of virtual reality and other similar technologies allow users to fully immerse themselves in the virtual world and, in a way, "forget" the real world while in the virtual world. In virtual reality, this is achieved by using special devices – VR glasses. They, in a way, bring the virtual world closer to the real world, i.e., when we are in the virtual world, they simulate visual and auditory stimuli that we would experience in the real world.
But as already noted above, immersiveness is not something that is necessarily limited to the virtual world. It can also be caused by various experiences in the real world. So, when visiting the museum, watching a movie in the cinema, hanging out with friends, going to the amusement park and similar activities, a person can get into the experience he is experiencing and completely forget about everything else. This can also be considered a form of immersiveness and we can associate the adjective "immersively" with these experiences.
However, the above type of immersiveness is increasingly difficult to achieve today because we are constantly burdened and bombarded with new information and various short-term stimuli (fast ads, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube shorts, etc.) and therefore today people generally have a much lower concentration capacity and much faster lose interest in longer-lasting experiences.
One of the positive stakes of immersiveness is improving mental health in the context of stress reduction. Namely, although excessive consumption of immersive content can have an adverse impact on an individual (in the form of reduced productivity, addiction to video games, etc.) in moderation, immersiveness can allow us to relax and reduce the amount of stress we are burdened with, thus having a positive effect on mental health.