It was recently that I came across the term ‘tech fasting’ which has become common these days. The term relates to a unique experience wherein, the whole family takes a break from using all the gadgets and keeps themselves away from technology to spend some days in the lap of nature. The experiences shared by people who underwent this experience were very interesting. In our day-to-day lives, most of us will definitely admit that we are obsessed with our devices.
We brag on our ability to multitask simultaneously—whether it be reading, working, mailing, replying to a text, checking Facebook, watching a video clip, talking on the phone, driving a car, enjoying family dinner with a glowing smartphone next to our plates. We can do it all, 24/7! We will never mind the errors in the email, the near-miss on the road, or the unheard conversations at the table.
In most cases, we are not even actually multitasking, rather we are switching between the tasks rapidly. Even in this so-called ‘fast-developing world’, we need to admit that we live in a world full of distractions and that’s why I am pretty sure that many of you are maybe impatient to read this article fully as your smartphones are calling you! (joking ☺). At the same time, this is a world of possibilities too for those who are here meaningfully.
Invading our creative space
The result of many studies suggests that the time spent doing nothing or being inactive can be beneficial for sparking and sustaining creativity. With smartphones in our hands, we might be continuously engaged on a tiny screen, and hence, we may simply never get bored. And our creativity suffers.
When we spend so much of our free time online, by not allowing our thoughts to drift away, what happens is that our creative space is hampered and this can limit our full potential.
The constant vibrations of our phone give a constant feeling of crowded space even when we are physically alone. These days, unplugged places are hard to find. Even parks and campgrounds now offer Wi-Fi—the idea being that people won’t get outdoors if they can’t tweet. What used to be ‘fun’ has become a ‘joyless compulsion’.
Even Facebook and Instagram are getting a range of new tools to help people spend less time on social networks. They’ve been designed with the help of experts and users, for keeping experiences on the networks positive.
I think the advent of the internet has definitely discovered and encouraged some amazing new platforms for being creative. I appreciate my ability to Google things for a reference point, but that doesn’t make me more creative.
I already had an image in my head and had the ability to draw. I agree that our beloved gadget is productive in many ways, for e.g., it helps us connect to the external world, but does this increased productivity lower one’s creativity?
Nature – The balancing agent
Studies reveal that a kid living in the city, on average spends 53 hours a week using gadgets. They are often plugged into some kind of electronic medium, and I imagine that’s true in the case of adults too. The more tech-friendly we become, the more we need nature as a balancing agent. Numerous studies have shown that spending time in nature is good for our physical and mental health.
Recently research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that walking in a city park or any green space, for as little as 25 minutes is enough to give rest to our brain, thus boosting our cognitive functions. When the prefrontal cortex (the region of the brain involved in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision-making, and moderating social behavior) quiets down, the brain’s default mode network kicks in.
Suddenly, flashes of insight come to us. It’s activated when we’re not focusing on anything specific, but are engaged in non-taxing activities, such as walking in the woods or sitting under a tree. Our minds are allowed to idly wander or to delve deep into the storehouses of emotions, ideas, or memories.
Today’s world is constantly bombarding our minds with information, most of which are not useful to us. Due to this noise made by our minds, it becomes impossible to hear our inner voice. When we remove these distractions, our mind is free to wander, leading us to new exciting journeys that reveal many undiscovered paths.
Results of another interesting experiment showed that even low ceilings unconsciously activate thoughts of confinement, which causes the brain to think in analytic and concrete ways. Whereas high ceilings unconsciously activate thoughts of freedom, which causes the brain to think in abstract ways.