Monday, August 10, 2015

Wonder: mind wandering is a rehearsal for life's upcoming attractions

By Wonderlane from Seattle, USA

A wandering mind is a dangerous mind. In psychology the term, mind-wandering refers to an unintentional disengagement from current activity. It typically occurs during activities that are tedious, and require long-term concentration. For example, mental time travel during long-term driving can lead to accidents.

Understanding brain frequencies can facilitate understanding and prevention. During focused and detailed activity, brain frequencies increase, which indicates the large energy requirement of focus and concentration. The enhanced energy need of the action limits its time. We get tired when we concentrate for a long time. When the high frequencies cannot be maintained any longer, conscious focus fades. This relaxed state is a trip to fantasy land. The mind has a 'mind' of its own; the thoughts are almost impossible to control. Disengagement from the activity curtails performance and leads to mistakes. Such inward, spontaneous wayward thoughts formulate a resting state of imagination and mental time travel, and it is called mind wandering.

The mind forms a resting state, in which new experiences trigger liberal thought associations by intermixing with old memories. Using its free capacity, the mind is in a constant trial-and-error mode to find its limitations and possibilities; current events are evaluated by comparing them to past experiences. This comprehension and examination form a congruent mental picture from spatially and temporally dis-joined and disconnected experiences. This automatic and non-conscious process formulates our beliefs and attitude toward every question and forms the basis of automatic mental activity. This subconscious mental computation lends us 'gut feelings,' a kind of inherent „knowing.” Recent scientific investigations indicate that mind wandering is more frequent in people with a negative mood and that they also have more trouble reorienting to their task. Also, mental wandering was found to result in unhappiness. However, these findings only underline the inherent pessimism and self-defeating nature of a negative mindset. Negative mindset dictates an unhappy future by evaluating recent experience through the distorted vision of remembering. The mind manufactures the future as a perfect mirror of the unfortunate past.

However, in the creative mind mental wandering is a source of new associations, ideas, and discoveries. Spontaneous mind wandering builds confidence, it enhances performance and produces immense happiness. It suffices to think of the purposeful and rewarding mind wanderings of creative geniuses, such as Mozart or Einstein, for example. Mozart was said to have 'seen' a whole symphony in a flash of a creative moment. Einstein apparently had sudden creative ideas while walking with his friends. But you do not have to be Mozart or Einstein to become creative. You can benefit from my The four-step plan for creative success. This way mind-wandering is an automatic (independent of consciousness) exploration of either limitation (for the cynical mind) or, possibilities (for a happy person).
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