Let Your Mind Wander

How often have you been told to focus, from childhood to today? Sure, it can take a focus of steel to complete some business tasks, writing included, and we help managers and employees stay on task during tough writing projects. But is it really so awful to let your mind wander? It might even lead to easier and better writing.

A recent study wanted to know what functions are served when babies and young children's minds wander. The authors studied how thinking moves dynamically between topics by using EEGs to record brain activity while participants repeatedly pressed an arrow for 40 minutes when a cue appeared. They found that brain waves differ between activities of focus on a task vs. distractions.


In the long run, the study showed that daydreaming serves a valuable function, helping our minds tune out those daily thoughts or concerns to shut off from the external world. In turn, letting your mind wander can free up thoughts and lead to better cognition. The study shows that letting your mind wander improves alpha waves, or slow brain rhythms that represent "wakeful rest." Try a few activities like taking a walk or jumping in the shower to spark wakeful rest. Any form of exercise or relaxing activity is likely to help free your mind to wander—you are paying attention, but routine activities don't demand lots of thought. Of course, practicing mindfulness or meditation can take you there as well. We've dealt with writer's block before and recommend some proven actions to map out your ideas and make your writing process as easy as possible. These steps all can work. But when you are stuck on a writing task or how to word an important email, unstick your thoughts. Of course, the more you know, the less likely you are to get stuck. So, learn more about our licensing program to improve your business communication company-wide. Less time fixating and more time daydreaming… then call us: 425.485.3221.

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