Today, we are all more dependent on our assorted digital devices than ever before – and when we aren’t doing something with our smartphones, or at our computers, we will often relax and unwind in front of the TV.
Ultimately, though, while modern digital devices are extremely powerful, useful and beneficial in a wide range of different ways, there are also some significant issues with spending too much time in front of a screen.
In fact, it’s important to regularly get away and do something else, whether that’s visiting the Official Esta website and embarking on your next vacation, or simply taking up an offline hobby, or going for a long stroll.
Here are a few reasons to get away from the screen on a regular basis.
To step back from the distorted perspectives promoted by online media and communities
In all sorts of different ways, the Internet tends to promote distorted perspectives, by simple virtue of the fact that online media will naturally veer towards “click bait” in order to drive engagement, and online communities will naturally tend to reinforce certain perspectives.
Ultimately, one of the big side effects of this is that spending too much time in front of a screen – and perhaps especially online – can end up giving you perspectives and outlooks on the world, society, and the situations you encounter, that lack nuance and balance.
In recent times, a lot of documentaries and opinion pieces have been produced and written about this particular issue, and related issues.
The hit documentary “The Social Dilemma” is just one example of a documentary that touches on these sorts of subjects.
But while it’s not good for things like social cohesion for echo chambers to form, or for people to become highly polarised in their outlooks on things, it’s also not healthy for individuals to end up in information ecosystems that have this effect on their overall perspectives of the world.
Stepping back from the screen can help you to move away from these distorted perspectives, and to get back to experiencing and understanding life and the world in a more holistic and nuanced way.
To stop feeding your own thought spirals for a while, and to let your intuitive mind have a say
Spending a major chunk of your time absorbing information from the Internet or TV will naturally tend to fuel and reinforce a restless and hyperactive state of mind, where your internal mental “chatter” is constantly firing on all cylinders.
Partly, this is because devices like your TV or your computer will naturally tend to be providing you with an ongoing flood of dramatic stimuli at all times, and partly it’s a result of the fact that sitting in front of a screen naturally tends to distract you from the present moment, and to draw your attention elsewhere.
When all is said and done, spending too much time in front of screens can have the effect of getting you caught up in your own thought spirals – and fueling and exaggerating those thought spirals – to the extent that you can find the very difficult to move away from the state of chronic overthinking, and to get back in touch with the intuitive part of your mind that connects you to a deeper sense of meaning in life.
Getting away from screens on a regular basis can, in other words, help you to still and quiet the thinking mind a bit, and let your intuitive mind have a say. Instead of always thinking about this or that thing that you’ve read, or a video that you’ve seen, you can get back to feeling things in a deeper and more positive way.
To reacquaint yourself with the mystery and beauty of the world
When all is said and done, it’s a big world out there, and it’s full of beauty and mystery that simply can’t be captured by watching programmes on TV, or looking at photos on your computer.
One thing about screens is that they act as a virtual middleman to the world, at large and so keep us from experiencing the world in a more direct and holistic way. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with experiencing things through the medium of screens, as long as you’re also spending a good amount of your time experiencing the mystery and beauty of the world directly.
By getting away from screens on a regular basis, you can remind yourself that there is something to trying out a hobby directly, meeting up with friends in person, or travelling to a beautiful natural landscape, that just can’t be captured by a representation of those things on a screen.
To be more present in your own life and to better notice what’s going on around you
Life is ultimately something that happens in the present moment – and our ability to take action and to shape the course of our lives can only be rooted in what we do in each moment, and primarily in the surroundings we find ourselves in.
Since our electronic devices can be so captivating, stimulating, and distracting, however, they can do a very effective job of drawing our attention away from the present moment and our surroundings altogether.
Getting away from screens on a regular basis, therefore, can help you to be more present in your own life and to better notice what’s going on around you – and this, in turn, can help you to renew and reinforce your sense of interest and enthusiasm in your own life, as opposed to feeling bored or unmotivated.
To gain new insights and perspectives on things
One of the great things about travel that makes it so appealing for so many people, is the fact that travelling to new and fascinating locations can help to grant us new insights into all sorts of different things, and can enhance our sense of perspective and insight.
Many people find that inspiration strikes when they’re travelling – whether that’s inspiration to change jobs, to get married, write a novel, or even to move to a new country.
Often, over the course of everyday life, we are a bit too “up close” to our concerns, preoccupations, and routines, to actually gain that broader sense of perspective that can help us to make personal breakthroughs and enjoy sudden inspiration in a variety of different ways.
Spending time away from screens on a regular basis can be one thing that can really help to create a bit more of that “mental space” and perspective, so that insight and inspiration can enter into the picture more effectively and reliably.
To avoid becoming desensitised and burned out
One thing that is often pointed out when it comes to things like social media, video games, and excessive time spent in front of the TV, is that these forms of media tend to be highly stimulating, with the drama and action turned up to 11, and with built-in mechanisms designed to hijack your attention.
One consequence of spending a lot of time engaged with these devices, therefore, is the simple fact that they can lead to desensitisation and burnout.
Simply put: if you’re spending most of your free time each day watching action-packed films and scrolling through highly curated social media feeds, your everyday life – and the world at large – can end up seeming a lot less interesting and exciting.
Spending time away from the screens on a regular basis can, in many cases, really help to stave off this kind of desensitisation and burnout.