Daydream More -It Works Out Your Mind
Tips on “resting your mind” are becoming a noticeably important in our busy lifestyles.
We are urged to rest our brain whether that means having an hour a day free of technology, taking up yoga or transcendental meditation.
A thought springs to mind – what is the criteria for determining if the mind is at rest? What are the causes for the inconsistency of peoples experiences of mental “rest”? And is there a way to widen up the methods that are used to find mental rest in our everyday busy lives?
Neuroscientists have been debating about what “rest” means to the human mind. If you decided to volunteer for a cognitive neuroscience experiment, you would most likely be put into a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner and would be told to just relax and do nothing in between psychological tasks whilst being monitored by a cross-hair. This cross-hair is the method used by cognitive neuroscientists to access the brain and mind’s state of rest.
“Little over a decade ago, mental activity during a phase of cross-hair fixation was treated simply as the baseline. The assumption was that the mind would rev up and out of its idling state in order to complete the tasks it was being set, and its activity could then be measured against this dormant “baseline” state.”
However over the last ten years the understanding of the resting state has undergone great transformation. Experiments have revealed that different parts of the brain display extraordinarily coordinated patterns of activity “at rest” and that different regions in the brain are consistently more rather than less active when a person is told to “do nothing”.
Think of your own mental experiences whilst you are not paying any attention to the world around or “doing nothing” and you will observe that when we are day dreaming we could be doing many complex things. Whether it would be imagining the future or what your next meal will taste like.
Daydreaming has been very hard to incorporate into scientific models.
“After all, as soon as one attempts to probe the activity of mind-wandering or daydreaming, one has disturbed the very thing one is trying to study.”
Despite the challenge of such attempts, many researchers including Jonathan Smallwood have attempted to understand the daydreaming state and it’s benefits on our overall psychological attributes. For years most psychologists believed that daydreaming was simply a lapse of attention. Study results show that this is not the case. Daydreaming allows us to go beyond “the here and now”. It has been proven to be an invaluable psychological attribute which helps our creativity, motivation, planning and happiness.
Neuroscientists are working on conducting more experiments to gain a deeper understanding of what exactly happens in our brain when we are daydreaming and whether the new “busier” mental models have advanced because our daily lifestyles have changed.
Today at WriteUpp HQ, we will spend some time daydreaming about sunshine, sandy beaches and cake…
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