Have you ever noticed how the walk in the park or forest boosts your creativity and makes new shiny ideas flow in an unstoppable stream? Let’s talk about why.
I personally had this feeling for so long and I supposed it was because nature, especially wild nature, helps us distress and relax but recently I’ve stumbled upon a scientific explanation of this phenomenon.
photos of Siberian woods from my personal Instagram
What do scientists say
It happens because our brain forced to make so many decisions always occupied with hundreds of different tasks in everyday life, gets into the state of mind-wandering when all the distractions such as smartphones and computers are eliminated, which is natural and healthy for our brain. The problem is not only in how addicted to our gadgets we are, but it is deeper in cognitive. Our attention switches too often when we work, checking e-mails, thinking about what to buy, what to cook, choosing what to read and watch, and the most when we use the internet, with lots of pop-up messages, notifications, links, banners. Our brain multitasks while using gadgets the most. I was surprised to know that every link in text on a website we browse, makes our brain to decide whether we should go check this link or not, even if we do not consciously think about that. Our brain forced to switch its attention very quickly and often which provokes our short-time memory to be overloaded and our long-term memory doesn’t even get a chance to store information we consume. Constant brain activity makes us tired, absent-minded and lost, unfocused which influences directly on our productivity. Our mind is simply too busy trying to solve thousands of tasks a day, consuming loads of information, not all of which is quite useful. There is no room for new incoming ideas in such state of mind.
I am not a scientist and I do not know how to properly explain these things (for the better explanation you can read the book “The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload” by Daniel J. Levitin or something similar to that. I haven`t finished this book yet, but I am in the process). My point is when you are in nature, wandering in a wild or sitting by the shore, your mind starts to “wander” without focusing on a particular task (or daydream), your body and your brain refreshes and recharges from the natural surroundings, not to mention fresh air and physical activity from walking, which is beneficial to our health on its own. Such state of mind is natural and healthy for our brain.
To me, it happens very often, that all my story ideas or drawing ideas even, come to me when I am out of town in the countryside. I am lucky enough that my family owns a summer cottage in the woods close to Lake Baikal’s shore, where even now in 2019 the phone’s connection is beyond the coverage. I can catch 4G internet only in a certain spot on the veranda. Not indoors, not in the garden not in the woods. Unfortunately, I can only live there in summer weekend but it is enough to recharge and get inspired and motivated.
my drawings from the summer garden
When I don`t have an opportunity to be out of town and beyond the coverage it is very helpful to simply walk in the park or beautiful alley without(!) headphones in my ears. Which, I am very guilty of using a lot. I`ve found out about this topic which turns out to be very interesting, from youtube chanal by Anastacia Kay (user funastacia – channel is in Russian), where she talks a lot about concentration, cognitive, and bad effects of multitasking (when you try to do many things at once and have nothing done at the end. It happens because our brain functions much more productive when it focuses on one task only, for a longer period of time).
Check up the video, which I filmed in the summer of 2018 and made into a short clip
This kind of landscapes with a beautiful view and fresh air help me to relax and recharge the most. Now in cold winter time, I can only look at my videos and dream of being there soon, in a few months.
Another side of inspiration
For us creatives, the brain is the most important instrument, so let’s keep it clear and operating on its best capacity. There are plenty of useful pieces of advice on the internet “how to eliminate and reduce distractions”. I`m going to try to implement some of them and see if there will be any effect. Maybe I`ll share my experience next time.
For now, I know the trick with nature-recharging works for sure.
I also wanted to mention that you can get inspiration from a lot of different resources, but it might be tricky. For visual artists and writers both, for example, gaining inspiration from movie or book may unconsciously force us to create something similar to what we absolutely loved (draw a costume from the movie without even remembering it, or imitate a voice of the favorite writer). In this case, gaining inspiration from music and nature are much “safer” and organic.
That’s all I wanted to say for today. Go for a walk, let your brain wander for a bit and get some inspiration!~