Let Your Mind Wander: 3 Reasons Why You Should Put Down Your Devices

By Tatenda


Last Updated: January 24, 2023

Most of us are obsessed with controlling our thoughts.

We want to be in charge of everything we think of at every minute. If it was possible, some of us would even plan what we will be thinking about throughout the whole 24 hour day.

This might seem like a good idea, as that will make our lives more predictable and allow us to steer our lives in the direction we see fit. 

But, that is not always possible since we spend 47% of our waking hours day dreaming. Our mind wanders when we are involved in most activities but interestingly, during sex that is less likely to happen.

But is always guiding our thoughts a good idea? Well, I don’t think so. And here is why…

Think back to the last time you had an unexpected "aha" moment. 

One moment you are absent-minded, the next you have a fantastic idea that might be enlightening or even more, is life-changing. But tracing where that idea came from usually seems impossible.

Well, usually that is because you allowed your mind to wander and it went beyond the mental boundaries you might have created. 



3 Benefits When You Let Your Mind Wander

1. It allows us to have happy thoughts.

When we are caught up in work and our long to-do lists, we will likely get exhausted and sometimes resent everything that is happing in our lives.

Being under pressure might make you think that your life is a huge ball of misery and there is nothing worth being happy about. 

The good news is that some studies have shown that when we let our minds wander, we will likely get positive thoughts that will boost our mood. 

This is because mind wandering allows us to think back of the moments that have made us smile and in turn, improve our mood in the present moment. Moreover, we also allow our minds to create scenarios that make us happier. 


2. It improves performance.

We are humans, not machines. We are incapable of working as though we are plugged into electric sockets.

After all, a study done by Microsoft showed that the average human’s attention span is only 8 seconds. With such an attention span almost similar to that of a goldfish, we constantly need breaks between our productivity sessions. 

It would be nice if we all could enjoy the sun on a beach every time we needed a break but sadly, that is simply not possible. But nothing is stopping us from daydreaming about the perfect holiday we deserve. 

Relaxing and thinking of what we think are the best scenarios possible helps us to become more productive when we get back to the task. It also allows us to briefly break away from the task and improve our problem-solving skills. 


3. It facilitates divergent thinking. 

If you engage in a lot of creative tasks, you most likely require a lot of divergent thinking.

This is where you come up with a lot of potential solutions for an ill-identified problem. You will then go through these options and stick to the few ones which look like they have the most potential. 

Mind wandering is great for this kind of thinking. It opens your mind to endless possibilities and creativity. Diverting our thoughts from the problem at hand brings creative discoveries. This is where possible solutions randomly come to us when we aren’t even thinking about the problem. 



It is Okay to Let Your Mind Wander

Considering the increasing focus on meditation, mindfulness, and being in control of your thoughts, letting your mind wander might sound like a nightmare.

Several studies on mind wandering have shown that although it has largely been studied under the the light of hindering progress, its benefits are actually undermined. 

Whether you are trying to come up with a plot for your next book, effective solutions for a problem you’re facing or a topic for your next assignment, gazing into the distance and letting your mind wander might land you the perfect solution you have been looking for. 

So next time you find your mind wandering, don't fight it. Embrace it! Our minds seem to be nowhere and everywhere at the same time all the time. Let your brain take a break and see what great things come from it.

On days when your productive juices aren’t flowing, don’t be scared to slow down and let your brain wander. A little bit of daydreaming might help your mind get to places where you had no idea existed!

Photo by Gustavo Fring


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