Let Your Mind Wander: Those “Travels” Are Good for You

Mindfulnessis an edgy word nowadays. It is a term used to describe the idea that we must strive to keep our minds attentive and fully conscious of what’s going on and the things we’re doing on a daily basis. Look up the term mindfulon the Internet and you’ll come across numerous courses, books, and classes designed to keep you focused on the present moment and stop you from letting your thoughts be distracted.

Mind-wandering isn’t good and you know that. It’s not helpful in the course of completing an activity, for instance, while reading a book or watching lectures. However, it turns out that letting your mind wander around in wanderings of its own accord is a similar situation as mindfulness. According to researchers that we can have as much as 50% of our mental activity in the state of spontaneity of thinking, also called daydreaming or mind wandering.

If it’s that disturbing, why do we repeat it all the time? If our minds wander off to other worlds are they a reflection of what those places reveal about us? And perhaps, where should really go on vacation?

As we adjust to a more complex world, we often have to think about escaping the present moment.

Mind-tripping

In one study conducted by researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara, researchers had students read the beginning chapters to Tolstoy’s War and Peacefor 45 minutes. Participants were required to press a key each time they noticed themselves drifting off. The students were able to press the key 5.4 times. In the course of the experiment, students were interrupted by a random number of times to check whether they were imagining themselves in a dream in the moment, but not having been conscious of it. It was found to be the case, on average at least 1.2 times. The results indicate that the difficulty in staying focused seems to be widespread and common.

However, far from being an unnecessary waste of time, mind wandering can be beneficial for thinking creatively as well as when planning things, like an excursion. Studies have also revealed that the flow of blood to the brain that is idle is just 5 to 10 percent less than that of the brain that is engaged. Additionally, larger areas of the brain are active in idle time than when working. The brain areas which are active in the supposed resting phase are now referred to in the “default-mode network.”

Research has shown that more areas of the brain are engaged when we’re at a desk rather than doing something. This increases our creativity.

The default-mode brain network covers those brain regions that aren’t directly involved in the process of absorbing the world around us or responding to it. One way to think of it can be made to show that the brain functions as small as a town with residents mingling around doing their daily work. When an event is big like football games, fans go to the stadium, and the rest of town is silent. However, there are things happening in the town. There is the exchange of business and the tidal wave of a handful of people in the neighborhood as well as at their work places. It’s all in the brain. When the brain isn’t focused on a particular incident it wanders.

There’s a valid reason behind this. When we are trying to adapt to our complicated world, we must be able to escape from the present to think about the possibilities of the future and contemplate our mistakes from the past. The mind-wandering process, in turn, is an avenue of inspiration; an inspiration for innovation.

The majority of us have a list in our heads of places we’d like to go to if time and money weren’t items.

Mindfulness encourages us to remain in the present and shift our concentration from one part of our body to the next and focusing on the feelings of breathing. Though these methods can bring back an inner peace but it’s unclear if mindfulness, more than wandering through our thoughts, can help to focus on the things that we desire or need to accomplish.

Dream destinations

If you’re in the mood of wandering What are the places we think of in our minds? We all have a list in our heads of places we’d love to go to and, as a result, we go to the places we like best. The places we tend to gravitate towards generally are a reflection of how we perceive our own self.

The places we envision taking a vacation tells much about who we we are as. If you consider yourself to be adventurous, then you might decide to go sailing through Antarctica and ziplining through the forest in Costa Rica. Do you consider yourself culturally minded? Perhaps taking a paddling trip through the wine regions of Portugal is your best option. That’s because the more closely our image of our destination aligns with our self-image–what’s called “self-congruity”–the happier we’re likely to be with our choice.

Where you want to go to on vacation tells something about who you believe you are.

It’s clear that the nature of our species was designed to be able to think, and to escape the confines of our minds. Although there are numerous self-help books in the bookstore it isn’t necessary to feel like we must be attentive all the time. So, revel in your mental escapades. It might aid you in deciding where to take the next step in that vast large, beautiful, gorgeous world that is out there.

Here’s to locating your real habitats and places,

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