In the hustle and bustle of everyday life our mind is rarely at rest. In almost 50% of the time our thoughts are wandering. We are living through either past experiences or simulate future events.
Rarely this stream of thought is broken by a moment of clarity in the here and now.
There’s growing evidence that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind (Killingsworth and Gilbert, 2010).
But is our mental performance suffering as well?
In fact Mrazek et al. (2012) observed a solid negative correlation (r = -.70) between mind wandering and general aptitude. In addition, Mrazek et al. (2013) were able to show that a reduction of mind wandering results in better mental performance:
After just two weeks of mindfulness meditation participants not only reported less mind wandering, but they also showed significantly better performance in a working memory task (OSPAN) and the Graduate Record Examination.
Keywords: Meditation – mindfulness meditation – research – Mind Wandering – daydreaming – anxiety – worries – Michael Mrazek – Working memory – Ospan (Operation Span) – Intelligence – SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) – Mrazek et al. (2013): nutrition group vs meditation group – 48 students – 4 x 45min. (2 weeks) – reading comprehension – Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) – 2250 subjects – a wandering mind is an unhappy mind – Default Mode Network – Smallwood (2013) – depression – rumination – creative problem solving – memory consolidation – memory traces – here and now