Mind wandering is a reality. Live with it!
Have you always had something lying at the back of your mind for… like always? Have you ever thought that juggling multiple things at times is easier than focusing only on one thing?
Well then, you are one of those who can be branded as mind wanderer…
You might have had info overload always and found it tough to sit at one place for affair bit of time. In order to handle the streak of mind wandering, some of us resort to meditation, yoga and even vacations from time to time.
But then, I believe why should we judge ourselves or somebody else as bad simply because of being a mind wanderer? You might just have a host of benefits to derive from mind wandering. The crux of all reasons that label mind wandering as negative and bad is that we need to always remain clued in to the reality. Making money and reaching targets have become so essential that we need to be on our feet bang on.
A real life example
Take for instance, Kapil Trivedi. A banker at a leading bank in Kolkata, he says that he had episodic instances of stress and could barely feel relaxed at his 6-figure salary and job. He took those breaks, refuelled himself, meditated but then he kept coming back to the mind wandering phase. Finally, he realised that his mind did not need to calm down. He needed a vent to channelise all those restless ideas that he had had inside always.
For a bunch of us, our professional lives are stuck in a tunnel where one needs to be focused for the sake of hitting the target but then our minds wander away to places that is least connected to work.
Everyone is wired in a special and unique way
We need to understand that the conventional patterns of the human focus are always dominated by the main personality traits we have. Few of us are inclined towards engaging our focus in a single task while some others are at ease with a scattered way of thoughts or things.
The pros of a wandering mind
Brilliant is the latest revelation that scientists are now set to admit that being a mind wanderer is actually laced with a number of advantages. Yes, you read it right. This tendency to always have a chain of thoughts that are unaligned to the current scenario.
The basis of such a thought process is that any mental state or process is as good as another. There have been studies that report how maximum individuals spend a whole lot of time focusing on things around that might or might not be connected with his or her current state.
Mind wanderers are creative 🙂
Seemingly, mind wandering is a sort of result that comes from two separate mental abilities. The first is the ability to indulged in perceptional disengagement while the other is the capacity to actively engage in some real focus on internal thoughts. A restless mind is often a sign of a person being more creative! Multiple thoughts lead to better output and enhanced fervour in terms of performance too.
A horrifying con too— Are mind wanderers happy?
Renowned psychologists Daniel T. Gilbert and Matthew A. Killingsworth from Harvard University have completed a very recent piece of research on this subject of mind wandering. The research has been published in the journal Science. The expert pair came to the conclusion that an average person spends about 46.9 percent of the time they remains awake, by thinking over stuff that is unrelated to what they are currently engaged in.
They say that a normal human mind is always a wanderer. The research has been tilted- “A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”
To this, the researches argue that this ability to keep pondering over what is not happening at the moment to you is part of a “cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.”
This is one trait we human beings have and no other animal has! From contemplating over past events to worrying over what might possibly happen in the later years— a wandering thought seems to always be in active mode— no matter what!
An app that analyses mind wandering
In order that such mind-wandering can be tracked, Killingsworth has gone ahead to develop an app for iPhone and the web that allowed him to get in contact with about 2,250 volunteers who were asked at spans about their levels of happiness. They were also quizzed on their moods, current activities and their overall mindset at any random hour.
The volunteers could pick from a list of 22 basic daily activities. About 46.9 per cent participants were said to be in a wandering state for no lesser than 30 per cent of the entire time for each of these activities except in the case of lovemaking,
Killingsworth says, “Mind-wandering appears ubiquitous across all activities. This study shows that our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the non-present.” The volunteers seemed to be at peak levels of happiness while making love, conversations and exercising. They were seen to be least happy while at rest, at the computer or at work.
They concluded, “Many philosophical and religious traditions teach that happiness is to be found by living in the moment, and practitioners are trained to resist mind wandering and to ‘be here now’. These traditions, unfortunately, suggest that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.
Mind wandering is a reality. Accepting it can make life easier otherwise…