We can all relate to the experience of letting our mind wander in a situation when we are supposed to focus on something else. For example, you are at the late Friday-afternoon meeting at work and while your boss talks about goals and targets, you let your mind adrift and you start making plans for the evening.
For the longest time, mind-wandering was considered harmful and seen as a damaging lack of executive control. However, a new study suggests that wandering minds can be okay. The results of this study show that, when they perform a task that doesn’t require constant attention, people are able to deliberately allow their mind to wander without any influence on their performance.
Some tasks require your (nearly) constant attention. For example, a second of mind wandering while behind the wheel can cause a serious car accident. However, many tasks that we perform each day actually don’t demand our continuous, undivided attention. For instance, you can mind-wandering while you do your household chores – thinking about your upcoming vacation certainly won’t impair the quality of your household work.
How Can Mind-wandering Benefit Your Mental Health?
A growing body of research suggests that mind wandering doesn’t necessarily need to be harmful. A wandering mind can actually improve your job performance, help you set firm goals and make you more creative.
Here is how wandering mind can help you improve your life.
· Mind-wandering Can Improve Your Mood
A wandering mind can elevate your mood and conjure the feeling of happiness. If your mind is engaged in pleasant daydreams, your mood will become more positive. Positive thoughts provoke feelings of satisfaction, happiness, and gratitude, positively affecting our energy vibes and our mental well-being in general.
· Mind-wandering Can Boost Your Creativity
Your creative inspiration can benefit from dreaming and mind-wandering. This habit is beneficial when your mind is trying to find the solution – mind-wandering can help you generate original ideas and solutions to your problems.
· Wandering Mind Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
While mind-wandering is not better than focusing when you want to achieve something important, research suggests that it can help you delay gratification and successfully manage the long-term goals. Moreover, positive mind-wandering will feed your subconscious mind with positive thoughts about desired outcomes and attract positive opportunities into your life. Your subconscious will accept anything you tell it as the only true, so make sure to engage only in positive mind-wandering!
How to Increase the Beneficial Mind-wandering?
Studies found that mind-wandering is very common – we spend 47 percent of our waking hours mind-wandering. One of the best ways to increase the useful mind-wandering is mindfulness meditation that helps you open your mind to allow positive thoughts and sensations to occur without judgment.
At least during certain tasks, we can allow ourselves to mind wander and use this experience to boost our creativity, improve mood and attract positive outcomes to our life.