July 21


Letting Your Mind Wander Can Help You Focus

By Staff Writer

Focus, meditation, neuroplasticity, wandering mind

Let’s face it, sometimes the subject, the information, the person that you are SUPPOSED to be paying attention to is just flat boring.

But sometimes it really is something that we want or need to pay attention to, but we find our mind wandering off.

It turns out that for just under half the time (47%), adults are not focused on what they are doing. But even though this happens so much of the time, studies show people are happier if they ARE paying attention, so how can we make ourselves come back and focus?

At least one of the ways we can increase the ability to bring our attention back to the matter at hand is by using this mind-wandering to help us build the ability to focus through the practice of focused attention meditation (FA).

In this mediation practice, we try to keep our attention on one thing, like a candle or the breath.  When we realize our attention is wandering, you withdraw from that thought and bring it back to that one thing.

For most people, this happens over and over throughout each meditation session.  But the more you practice FA meditation, the easier it is to bring your attention back.

Thus, the act of allowing your mind to wander is the same thing that brings you back to focus. This movement back and forth from wandering attention to focus, wandering attention to focus, is something that increases neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections.

Regular meditation practice not only makes it easier for you to focus, but it also improves working memory and mood, and helps to reduce fatigue and anxiety.

Read more about focus from neuroscientist Wendy Hasenkamp, Ph.D.:

How To Focus A Wandering Mind

About the author

Our staff writers come from various backgrounds in the neuroscience, personal development, brain science and psychology fields. Many started out as with us as contributors!

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