Here are some of the highlights from this fascinating article in The New York Times:
The definition of "mind wandering" or daydreaming:
Mind wandering, as psychologists define it, is a subcategory of daydreaming, which is the broad term for all stray thoughts and fantasies, including those moments you deliberately set aside to imagine yourself winning the lottery or accepting the Nobel. But when you’re trying to accomplish one thing and lapse into "task-unrelated thoughts," that’s mind wandering.You do it more than you think:
During waking hours, people’s minds seem to wander about 30 percent of the time, according to estimates by psychologists who have interrupted people throughout the day to ask what they’re thinking.Traffic Jams:
"People assume mind wandering is a bad thing, but if we couldn’t do it during a boring task, life would be horrible...Imagine if you couldn’t escape mentally from a traffic jam." You’d be stuck contemplating the mass of idling cars, a mental exercise that is much less pleasant than dreaming about a beach and much less useful than mulling what to do once you get off the road.Want to be more creative? Exercise:
To encourage this creative process, Dr. Schooler says, it may help if you go jogging, take a walk, do some knitting or just sit around doodling, because relatively undemanding tasks seem to free your mind to wander productively. But you also want to be able to catch yourself at the Eureka moment.I highly recommend checking out the full article over at The New York Times.
image via Viktor Koen