The benefits of mindfulness are well-known but is mind wandering necessarily a negative?
Mind wandering is often stigmatized. For instance, those with ADHD are often considered to be less productive, as they are more prone to daydream. Undoubtedly, reading comprehension and other information-obtaining processes can be hindered by mind wandering, but when your mind is at rest, your subconscious is still at work and your creative abilities can be heightened. The brain is able to evaluate unsolved issues even when the problem at hand isn’t at the front of your mind. Free association, in turn, is more beneficial than you might assume.
A wandering mind is a creative mind. In a 2014 article published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Journal, Simone M. Ritter and Ap Dijksterhuis have concluded that when “working on a problem, we can’t solve the task, we leave it aside for some period of time - the incubation period - and when we return attention to the task we have some new insight that helps us to solve the problem.” In NIMBLE founder Mariette Wharton’s current research, she finds that many people have a Eureka! moment when they’re doing something relaxing such as showering or running. The next time a problem has you stumped, do yourself a favor, let your mind wander and reap the benefits of an incubation period.