Apparently we don’t like it!
We do it nearly half of our conscious lives. Yup. An alarming 46.9 % of our waking hours are spent “mind-wandering” and the research says THIS DOES NOT MAKE US HAPPY! (Source) Those narratives we are making in our head are keeping us from deeply living our own (if you are like me, slightly dramatic) connected, present, conscious life.
Hmpf. Silly mind…
But. There is something to be done. It’s called: Now. Catch yourself. Right now.
Here’s the science bit! Our brain actually has two-modes of operating. One mode is a kind of ‘default’ network when we are living on auto-pilot. This network is active in those mental narratives we write and those moments of ‘I drove myself home how?…’. The other mode is much more experiential. It’s of the body and senses. The feeling of exercise. The breeze. A hug. 🙂
Now, here’s the saving grace– the two modes are inversely correlated! Yup. The more I am with my senses (I’m feeling the texture of my laptop keys currently…) the less I am in that unhappy, mind-wandering, if / then / when narrative space. Simply, we can draw ourselves out of mind-wandering and return to the happier, NOW, awake present. The inverse correlation tells us: we cannot be running both modes dominantly at the same time. Thus, if we want to quell the wandering, all we have to do is literally come back to our senses!
So, when you wander don’t get lost. Notice something. Right now.
You’ll be happier for it!