Why it’s important to take the time to switch off and let your mind wander

Researchers have found it’s actually better for people to let their mind wander instead of sitting on their smartphone.
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Ever feel like your mind is working overtime and going into overdrive? It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

In fact, researchers have found it’s actually better for people to let their minds wander instead of sitting on their smartphones to distract themselves.

Amazingly, having a wandering mind can enhance your creativity and help you with problem-solving.

Why you should let your mind wander

Why it’s important to take the time to switch off and let your mind wander

Experts argue it’s really important to find moments where you can have quiet times to reflect.

In modern society, we actually miss out on this because we have devices that we can scroll through if we are waiting to see the doctor or while we are sitting on a plane.

259 participants were university students from Japan and the United Kingdom who took part in the experiment.

In the first experiment, participants were asked to sit and think for 20 minutes without any distractions, like reading, walking or checking their smartphone.

While in other experiments, they were asked to sit in an empty conference room, a dark room where they couldn’t see anything. There were different variations.

Each time, participants were asked to predict how much they would enjoy checking the news or not being able to check their phones, and they rate the experience afterwards.

Although the groups engaged in just thinking without distractions estimated they would not enjoy it as much, they ended up enjoying it just as much.

Using time to ‘just think’ isn’t boring

“We tend to think that ‘just thinking’ or ‘just waiting’ is boring,” says You Murayama, co-author of the new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

By contrast, experts found that people actually enjoyed being alone with their thoughts much more than they expected.

“In the modern digital world, it’s so easy to ‘kill time’ when there is free time,” added Murayama.

“But it may be a good idea to immerse ourselves in thinking in such a situation.”

So there you have it, distraction-free downtime may be more pleasurable than people realise! So maybe some breaks from your smartphone will do you the world of good.

However, more research needs to be done though, as not all thinking is positive. Some people need distractions to stop negative thoughts.

 

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