Cutting edge brain research on letting your mind wander—and when and why it's good for you.
Research has revealed that our brains are inherently noisy. A number of brain regions connected in what’s dubbed the Default Mode Network (DMN) are always grinding away, engaged in a number of different involuntary activities that neuroscientists collectively call mindwandering: from daydreaming and self-chatter to ruminating about the past and worrying about the future. Not only does all of this inner commotion tug our attention away from the present moment, but it can dampen the quality of our experience, lowering our mood and potentially contributing to anxiety and depression. Yet, there’s method to this apparent madness.
Mindwandering is our brain's way of developing our sense of self, trying to sort out what others are thinking, and searching for associations to help us interpret what's happening in our lives. It can be both positive and negative. On one hand, can become so engaged in this consideration of the past and making predictions about the future that for much of the time we are disconnected from what is actually happening in the moment. On the other, we can become more aware of where our minds are wandering, learning to direct them to stimulate creative, increase our ability to focus, and boost our mood. We want, in short, to work toward being able to bring the right mind to the right time.
Mindwandering is the first book to expose readers to the multi-faceted phenomenon of their wandering minds, the new and exciting research of the brain and the mind behind this default mode of ours, when it is beneficial and when it is harming us to wander, and how we can gain some control over our mental lives. In doing so, Mindwandering will bring to readers the rare and marvelous convergence of advanced neuroscience with ancient wisdom; cognitive psychology with creativity and mood; and the brain’s default state linked to the quality of our daily experience.
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