Why the Mind Wanders

Mind-wandering is that pervasive psychological phenomenon in which an individual loses focus on something he is supposed to be paying attention to. Can this mental mystery be solved?

With the many “How To” guides sprouting all around, I have thought of coming up with my own pointers on….. wait, I forgot. Oh, okay that’s it – “How to Keep Your Mind from Wandering”. Sounds very challenging, don’t you think? I will be able to provide useful hints on how to stop this pervading psychological phenomenon called mind-wandering from ever bothering our mental faculties again. Mind-wandering is that abstract nuisance that prevent students from keeping their focus on textbooks and lectures, drivers from keeping their minds on the road, and employees from concentrating on beating deadlines set by their bosses. I am thrilled no end by the prospect of seeing everyone starting to do something and finishing it without being interrupted even for a second by a wandering mind.

I am sure many of you now are eagerly waiting for my pointers to come out and are probably asking how I am progressing with this set of hints. Unfortunately, I have not even started it yet. My mind simply goes astray faster than I can put in those first few words of my supposed first suggestion. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I seem to be so overwhelmed by this mind-wandering thing and realize that I can’t avoid it myself. Which brings me to this question: “Can mind-wandering be stopped?”.

While the prevailing current psychological activity has failed to focus on this widespread mental behavior, the efforts of some scientists are now beginning to gain ground. For instance, a spate of new scientific researches is hewing away at this enigma and many other researchers are putting in their ten cents worth in trying to unravel the mysterious shroud off mind-wandering. These concerted researches may someday help in shedding light on attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder which includes an uncommonly harsh lack of sufficient capacity to focus that result to disturbances in the various fields of life. On a more general scope, scientists believe that mind-wandering deserves serious consideration because it is just too familiar to be simply ignored.

A recent study revealed that, on the average, students are not thinking about what they are doing thirty percent of the time when their thoughts were sampled for a week at eight random times per day. For some of the other students, it was alarmingly higher at between eighty and ninety percent of the time. Of the 126 students who participated in the study, only one denied any mind-wandering at the sampled moments. This lone denial represents a negligible 0.79% of the total number of thoughts evaluated. And supposing that this solitary denial is accurate and was not a product of mind-wandering, then our scientists have the daunting task of turning the other 99.21% into completely focused minds!

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  1. I hope that you do not mind that I did add your article to my blog at It is setup that it links directly through to your article here.

    All the best to you. I enjoyed reading your article.

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