📑 How ‘Soft Fascination’ Helps Restore Your Tired Brain

Bookmarked How ‘Soft Fascination’ Helps Restore Your Tired Brain by Markham Heid (elemental.medium.com)

Your attention is a lot like the beam of that flashlight. You can focus it closely and intensely on something, or you can relax it — allowing it to grow soft and diffuse.

Markham Heid discusses the importance of finding balance in our attention diet. He divides these activities into hard and soft fascinations.

Natural environments are just stimulating enough to gently engage the brain’s attention without unhelpfully concentrating it.
“[W]hat makes an environment restorative is the combination of attracting involuntary attention softly while at the same time limiting the need for directing attention,” wrote the authors of a 2010 study in Perspectives on Psychological Sciences. Nature, they added, seems to hit that sweet spot.
On the other hand, activities that grab and hold our attention too forcefully — books, social interactions, pretty much anything on a screen — entertaining through they may be, are unlikely to recharge our brain’s batteries. “Unlike soft fascination, hard fascination precludes thinking about anything else, thus making it less restorative,” the study authors added.

This reminds me of Michael Easter’s ‘20-5-3’ Rule for engaging with nature.

It also has me thinking about something Jack Antonoff discussed in regards to relaxation and his interest in cooking videos.

The definition of relaxation is to enjoy something that fascinates you but does not inspire you.

I wonder where things like notifications and attention literacy fit within all this too?

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